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Posts Tagged ‘Ephesians 4:32’

 

Science teacher Mike Burns emerged from his house and headed to his car for the short commute to his middle school. ‘Wish it were Friday instead of Wednesday, he thought. How can two days feel like five?

Mike’s next door neighbor was already puttering among his prize rosebushes, even though the sun was just rising.

He called out a quiet “Hey, Bill,” so as not to waken any neighbors. He opened the door to the back seat and set his briefcase and lunch on the floor.

“Howdy yourself, Mike!” Bill responded cheerily, raising his clippers in a salute. “’You have a great day now. And just remember: The early bird gets the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese (1).”

 

 

Mike chuckled. Bill always had a quick joke or silly quote to share.

“I’ll try to be that second mouse!” Mike quipped, taking his seat behind the wheel, and waving good-bye to his retired neighbor.

As he waited at the first stoplight, Mike found himself sniggering again. Gotta love that Bill—always so positive.

On his way from parking lot to faculty lounge, Mike thought of several colleagues who’d also appreciate Bill’s advice, and smiled again. Yup, they’re gonna love it, he thought.

Early bird that he was, Mike decided to make the coffee. And while it brewed, he straightened up the papers, pens, and other office supplies littering the worktable. With a satisfied grin he surveyed the surprise for his coworkers, then grabbed his mug, poured the first cup out of the pot, and headed to the second floor.

 

 

English teacher Angie Thompson arrived next, the teacher who made coffee more often than anyone. But the lounge was already filled with the aroma of a fresh brew.

And look at the table! I’ve never seen it look so neat—and inviting! Angie smiled, already forming a mental list of teachers who might have been so thoughtful. Then with her own cup of joe in hand, Angie walked briskly down the hall to her classroom, invigorated for the day.

Half an hour later, as students strolled in, she found herself engaging with them in good-natured banter. And when the bell rang, Angie greeted her class with an extra dose of cheerfulness and enthusiasm.

The positivity proved highly contagious and as discussion groups got under way, the students responded to each other with more courtesy than usual.

 

 

The same phenomenon was occurring in Mike’s classroom too, as partners companionably constructed barometers.

In fact, the atmosphere of good will continued to spread throughout the day, impacting the entire school community by the time the last car left the parking lot.

And when everyone went home, each was surprised how energized they felt—even happier. Hundreds of households benefited from the positivity.

 And all because Bill offered a bit of friendly conversation and humor.

_________________________

 

Now some will say this sequence of events highly exaggerates the results from one small act of kindness. But research has proved:

“Kindness is contagious. It can cascade across people, taking on new forms along the way…One good deed in a crowded area can create a domino effect and improve the day of dozens of people” (2).

No wonder God inspired Paul to write:

 

 

Mother Teresa gently expanded on Paul’s instruction this way:

 

“Be kind and merciful.

Let no one ever come to you

without leaving better and happier.

Be the living expression of God’s kindness:

kindness in your face, kindness in your smile,

kindness in your warm greeting…

Give them not only your care, but also your heart.”

 

Imagine the over-lapping ripple effect if each of us became the living expression of God’s kindness.

It can start with just a brief, neighborly conversation.

 

 

What recent kindness made a difference in your life?  Tell us about it in the comment section below!

 

Notes:

  1. One of comedian Steven Wright’s famous one-liners.
  2. Jamil Zaki, Assistant Professor of Psychology at Standford University for Scientific American, July 26, 2016, https://www.randomactsofkindness.org/the-science-of-kindness).

 

Art & photo credits:  http://www.goodfreephotos.com; http://www.flickr.com (3); http://www.canva.com; http://www.flickr.com.)

 

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A friend and I enjoyed a bit of clearance shopping last week.  As she gleaned one rack, I gleaned another.  It was while scooting hangers left to right that a sweater fell to the floor. I bent over to pick it up and my sunglasses fell from their perch on my head. Quick as a wink, though, a nearby shopper (not my friend) retrieved them.

“Wow!” I exclaimed, taking back the sunglasses. “That has to be the fastest ‘pay it forward’ in history! Thank you!”

With a big smile for me, she returned to her shopping.

What a contrast to other shopping experiences, when someone has:

  • Bumped past me with her cart without an “Excuse me.”
  • Sauntered with two or three others down the middle of the parking lot lane, oblivious to the fact they’re holding up traffic.
  • Walked through a door I have held open without saying, “Thank you.”

Common courtesy seems to be disappearing from society, as some people have allowed the constant pursuit of self-interests to turn into self-absorption. Perhaps they think worrying about other people’s feelings is a waste of time and energy.   Others may see customs of politeness as downright archaic and puritanical.

The truth is, courtesy and consideration can do us a world of good. Research indicates that kind deeds release feel-good endorphins into our nervous systems. Benefits include diminished pain, decreased depression, and relieved stress. (1).

Of course, the Bible has taught the value of kindness all along (2).

 

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Yet some folks cringe at the thought of teaching scriptural principles to our children in school or holding ourselves to those standards. “Legalistic!” they claim.

But would it be so horrible if we:

  • Cheerfully greeted one another, even if we’re strangers?
  • Allowed others to enter a building or aisle first?
  • Held doors for one another?
  • Treated service personnel (clerks, wait staff, attendants, etc.) with friendly respect?
  • Said “thank you” at every opportunity?
  • Followed the Golden Rule that Jesus taught (Matthew 7:12)?

 

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Good manners are based on good principles; good principles are found throughout the Bible.

And Biblical principles not only provide positive impact on people (and our own nervous systems!), but may very well form the foundation of a strong nation:

 

“Neither the wisest constitution nor the wisest laws

will secure the liberty and happiness of a people

whose manners are universally corrupt.”

–American statesman, Samuel Adams (1722-1803)

 

So…

 

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*     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *

Oh, Lord, help me leave footprints of kindness wherever I go, to live out your Golden Rule for the benefit of others and for the praise of your glory.  May others know I’m a Christian by the cross I wear and the love I share.

 

(1) Allan Luks, The Healing Power of Doing Good (2001).

(2) Examples include: Galatians 5:22-23, Ephesians 4:32, and 1 Peter 2:17.

 

(Art & photo credits:  www.allthingstarget.com; http://www.etsy.com; http://www.pinterest.com; http://www.askideas.com.)

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