Katie Snipes Lancaster
Beloved, let us love one another,
because love is from God;
everyone who loves is born of God and knows God.
1 John 4:7
A Look at Joy
A puppy’s love is so compelling that, if you saw your worst enemy—let’s call him Patrick, the guy who bullied you all the way through high school by leaning on your locker so you couldn’t open it and made you late for class—walking down the street, there would undoubtedly be some melting of the ice [between you and Patrick] if, bouncing right by his side, was the cutest puppy you’ve ever seen. Seriously, how could such an awful person like hypothetical Patrick have not only such a happy dog but also one that seems to think Patrick deserves the joy that this puppy exudes? Doesn’t that puppy know what a jerk her owner was?
I’ll tell you why that ice melted a little.
Dogs are kind.
…When I come home each day, my puppies, with every cell of their bodies, are thinking, “My human is home! My human is home! I love my human! Best human ever!” Kindness in its purest form is about simply responding to the interests of the person before you. Other people’s descriptions of kindness flesh this out more.
“Kindness is…love and mercy. Love and mercy are challenging, messy, heartbreaking, and painful, and yet it is the only work that gives us breath and makes life worth living.” (Andy Acton, @georgiapreacher)
“Kindness is…giving the others the benefit of the doubt, the most generous assumption until proven otherwise” (Cindy Wunder, @cascadiagrl)
“Kindness is… being willing to place the importance of the relationship above the importance of being right” (Pepa Paniagua, @pepajean)
“Kindness is the gateway to love” (Audrey Garcia @audrygarcia)
Because we have all lived different lives and have experienced kindness… our expressions of kindness will be as diverse as the people with whom we live. Here’s my working definition of what it means to be kind: To be kind is to accept that each person is a created and complex human being—and to treat them as if you believe this to be true. Such a definition of kindness challenges me to see and treat the other as complex, created, and worthy of dignity.
(From Bruce Reyes-Chow’s book “In Defense of Kindness: Why it matters, How it Changes our Lives, and How it Can Save the World”).
O Great Mercy,
Melt the ice between us,
And show us a way to kindness,
Open the gateway to love,
Where we can, with compassion,
see each person as worthy of dignity.
Transform our hearts to this kindness.