Joan: This week I thought I would tackle the unconditional love principle of “love is kind.” I’ve been avoiding this topic for awhile now, hoping Rebecca would decide to write this post, but to no avail. Rebecca decided that I should give it a go. I knew it would be so much simpler for Rebecca to cover this subject. She has always found it easier to be kind and loving towards people than I have. It’s not that I don’t want to show people kindness, it’s that sometimes I let other things stand in the way of kindness (like offense or self preservation). So I had to do a bit more self examination and research than usual before writing about how love is kind!
I wanted to begin by talking about what it means to be kind to others. But, when I searched my mind, I realized the term is a bit abstract. Kindness can mean different things to different people. To me, kindness means being respectable, generous, forgiving, giving of oneself, etc. Others may have additional ideas. I do think, though, that the motivation behind showing kindness can be taken from these two quotes:
The first is from Samuel Johnson, the acclaimed writer from the 1700’s:
“The true measure of a man is how he treats someone who can do him absolutely no good.”
And the second is from the Bible:
“Love your neighbor as yourself.”
It definitely helps me to remember that I should treat others as I would like to be treated (and, as they would like to be treated), and to not care if I get anything in return for being kind. You may wonder why I even bring this up. Shouldn’t kindness come naturally from my heart? Yes, but please remember that sometimes being kind to another can be challenging, especially when the other person is not being kind to me!!!
Here’s an example. Recently, as I was boarding an airplane, I noticed a passenger who was holding a dog looking for a seat near me. (This was an airline that did not pre assign seats.) I knew from past experience, that sitting near a dog could lead to sneezing from some family members. To avoid problems for us, I asked the stewardess to please seat the passenger with the dog further away from us. This enraged the woman with the dog, who proceeded to get rowdy, making me and the other passengers very uncomfortable. She looked at me with utter contempt in her eyes and loudly blurted out unkind comments towards me. She then proceeded to sit wherever she wanted, with complete disregard for anyone’s feelings but her own.
Whew! My first thoughts were about how offended I was. Inside, I really wanted to act out. I wondered if her dog’s rights took precedence over the health issues of my family. (Now, for any dog lovers out there, please remember that I’m talking about showing kindness and not digressing into the rights of dogs.) With great difficulty, I used the U Love principles. And, besides, it seemed to me that this woman was problematic, so I thought it best not to mess with her. I kept my mouth shut, took my seat, and was grateful the “dog woman” chose a seat two rows behind us. But, victory was short lived.
Upon landing, as I stood up, the woman with the dog raced forward and forcefully shoved me back over my seat as she tried to be the first out of the plane. Let me remind you that I mentioned in my post from 1/11/13, that I had sustained multiple injuries in an accident. So, at the time when this woman pushed me, I was on crutches, in a leg brace, had a cast on my arm, stitches in my head, and all of that was pretty visible. Yet, this woman still shoved me back over my seat. Even worse, she stood in the aisle next to me and glared at me as if she had every right to attack me in that manner. It was more than I could take from her! U Love principles went out the door!! At that point, I wasn’t just offended, I was angry. Very angry!!!
I stood up wanting to harass this woman right back. Fortunately, I took a minute to somewhat compose myself so that I could enact some self control. And so, instead of shoving her in return, I sarcastically stated to everyone to let the woman pass because she was just downright rude. This, of course, elicited a nasty response back from the woman who proclaimed that I was the rude one. At that point, I could see things escalating again, and since I wasn’t sure which of us was being more rude, I decided not to respond to her any longer. I quickly (well, as quickly as I could on crutches) exited the plane and got as far from her as possible.
Obviously, I’m not proud of my behavior during this incident. I think of it from time to time and chide myself. Regardless of which of the two us was right (or wrong), I could have shown more of God’s U Love to this woman. I neglected to show unconditional love in this instance and missed an opportunity to be kind. I know that kindness with some added U Love would have changed the outcome of this situation. And, who knows? Perhaps all this woman really needed was for someone to show her some unconditional love. I’ll use this as a learning example for myself.
I have lots more to say about how love is kind, but since this is getting long, I’ll pick up next week where I left off. See you then!!!