I recently found myself humming to a song from my old country and western days and, being close to the computer, I thought I’ll check to see if I can find it on YouTube.
Soon I found myself singing to Glen Campbell “you’ve got to try a little kindness; show a little kindness; just shine a little for everyone to see; and if you try a little kindness; then you’ll overlook the blindness of narrow-minded people on narrow-minded streets”.
The whole theme of the song challenges us to take the initiative to reach out and help others by simply trying to be kind.
In my limited experience of life I happen to believe most people want to be kind but at the same time we all carry that sinking feeling of not wanting to be rejected.
One of the first emotions we see displayed in the Garden of Eden is fear, no one wants to be exposed or rejected and that makes it hard to do what Glen was singing about.
However the danger we face today is that studies show that one of our deepest needs as human beings is the need to connect with others, we all desperately need to feel that somebody can feel what we’re feeling and understand what we’re thinking.
So a society that devalues kindness and creates conditions even subconsciously, which makes it difficult to engage and help each other will create problems for itself.
There is an old Chinese proverb that states “seek to understand before seeking to be understood”.
The Bible says the same thing in a different way “look out for one another’s interest not just your own”.
These two statements are counter culture because everything in our culture from the moment we are born tends to train us to think “me first” and as a result of this our society find it hard to display kindness because we are all thinking about ourselves and not thinking about the needs of other people.
So when Glen Campbell sings “Don’t walk around the down and out, Lend a helping hand instead of doubt; And the kindness that you show every day will help someone along their way...you got to try a little kindness....” that sentiment does not come naturally.
The Bible teaches us to love others and display generosity to strangers and also learn to love those close to us.
We are commanded to make allowances for each other’s faults and forgive the person who offends you, remembering God forgave you also.
At the heart of the Christian message is a God who took the risk to demonstrate love and kindness to humanity, knowing full well that the kindness and love would sometimes be rejected and scorned, but it was given anyway.
So why not try a little kindness and overlook the blindness of narrow minded people on narrow minded streets.
No act of kindness, no matter how small is ever wasted. Aesop
Rev Andrew Fadoju, Elim Church, Worthing