[Miracles] can happen and will happen when there is kindness, respect, and love. Why do any of us have to be so mean and unkind to others? Why can’t all of us reach out in friendship to everyone about us? Why is there so much bitterness and animosity? It is not a part of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
(Gordon B. Hinckley, “The Need for Greater Kindness,” Ensign, May 2006, 58)
I have been reminded of this lately. (Isn't it sad that we must be reminded of something that is supposed to be so basic to Christian life?) Sometimes being on the receiving end of unkind actions and words can remind me of how important it is for me to be kind.
I had a hard day a couple of days ago. I suppose I was probably already on the verge of tears anyway. But a woman serving samples at Costco was unkind to me, and I spent the rest of the time in Costco with tears trickling down my cheeks. I was reminded that "in the quiet heart is hidden sorrow that the eye can't see" (Hymns, 220).
I have had a few other experiences where a stranger has been incredibly unkind -- once in a parking lot, and once as I was crossing the street (a woman actually stuck her tongue out at me from her passing car after I had tried to signal for her to slow down while I crossed the street with my precious daughter!) I have been surprised at how those actions affected me. They hurt, even though I didn't know the people and even though I didn't have to face them again. I was reminded that even strangers deserve my kindness. Certainly they don't deserve impatience and mean words and actions.
I'm not trying to play the victim, but instead am reminding myself that even seemingly insignificant interactions plagued with mean-spiritedness can have an effect on someone. I know because of the effect these experience have had on me. I am resolving to be more kind, especially when my impulse may be to be selfish and snappy. I might just spare someone some pain that they didn't need added to their lives.
"Savior may I love my brother as I know thou lovest me."