Wednesday’s Column: Third’s Words
Most readers can hopefully state to themselves, “I haven’t murdered, stolen, committed adultery, etc.” While we know that forgiveness can be had for all of our sins, humans in general typically want to avoid practices that harm others.
We have brief encounters with others constantly. Most of those encounters will not leave much of a lasting impression on anyone involved. Two types of encounters definitely leave a lasting impression, though: good ones and bad ones. Bad ones seem to stick the longest.
So when people encounter us, do we leave a lasting impression? If we do, is it positive? If someone doesn’t walk away thinking, “Man, they were so nice!!!” we have room to grow. As an aside, I’m talking exclusively about normal interactions with others. The Christian and Self-Defense is a study for later.
While we avoid practices that bring physical harm to others, do we invest in being kind? How do we treat staff at restaurants, people who are obviously different from us, people who may be under us in an authoritative chain or over us?
It’s easy to be indifferent. For some, it’s easy to be rude and unlikeable in general. Christians must put energy into being kind to others. Give other people the benefit of the doubt. Don’t assume bad intentions. Even in the face of persecution, Christians are commanded to respond rationally and with meekness and fear (I Peter 3.15,16). If we’re supposed to be that composed in the face of persecution, shouldn’t we be all the more kind in everyday encounters?
“Anyone who claims to be in the light but hates a brother or sister is still in the darkness. Anyone who loves their brother and sister lives in the light, and there is nothing in them to make them stumble. But anyone who hates a brother or sister is in the darkness and walks around in the darkness. They do not know where they are going, because the darkness has blinded them” (I John 2.9-11).