Interfaithfully: A little kindness can go a long way

by Sue Zylstra | Special to the Courier

“One of the easiest ways to identify a true disciple of Jesus Christ is how compassionately that person treats other people,” according to Russell M. Nelson, president and prophet of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He goes on to say “Vulgarity, faultfinding, and evil speaking of others are all too common. Too many pundits, politicians, entertainers, and other influencers throw insults constantly. I am greatly concerned that so many people seem to believe that it is completely acceptable to condemn, malign, and vilify ‘anyone’ who does not agree with them. Many seem eager to damage another’s reputation with pathetic and pithy barbs.”

Have you noticed this too? It’s a sad and disappointing thing. But thankfully, each of us can work to change it. One by one, little by little, with concentrated effort, each one of us can contribute to a kinder, more considerate community.

I recently heard this account from a friend: a small group of people were holding a meeting in a partitioned area of our church. A young man was on the other side of the partition, talking loudly and disturbing the class. At one point the teacher of the class went over and politely asked the loud talker to speak more quietly so as not to disturb the class. The response was “I can do what I want!” The teacher calmly returned to the class and continued teaching. At the end of class the teacher, feeling badly about the interaction with the angry man, went to the man who had been disturbing his class and apologized for offending him. The man responded “Oh, it’s not a problem, I just get angry sometimes.” So that good teacher warded off a contentious situation by being kind, rather than unkind.

We each can choose contention or reconciliation. We all can respond to unkindness with kindness. We can set good examples for others. We can encourage, inspire, lift, and cheer one another on.

In Matthew 5:9, we read “Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.”

I hope that we all can remember to use kindness in all our interactions and help make the world a better place!

 Sue Zylstra is a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and is its liaison to the Claremont Interfaith Council.


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