The kingdom of heaven.

© Noelle Garnier, 2011

I’ve had the privilege of meeting many, many wonderful people during the first seventeen years of my life. I’ve met talented people, brave people, accomplished people, famous people (not many, of course), inspiring people of all kinds. But the most memorable people I have ever known or encountered are the ones who carried with them kindness in equal measure to their accomplishments. People who completely and totally emanated kindness to the point that I just watched and wondered how I could ever become like them.

I’m not talking about selective kindness that you show to “your people” and maybe a select few of their friends. Not timid kindness that you only see once you really get to know someone. Not fake kindness that only exists as long as a person affords a connection. Not thinly-spread kindness that encircles a hundred people but develops no real relationships.

No, I have met people who have something so much deeper.

From my perspective, the kindest people I have ever met are the ones who genuinely love the people around them as Christ did. Kindness takes the form of graciously giving your undivided attention to whomever God places in your path, listening intently and sharing wisely, treating each person with respect.

Kindness is in the simple gestures like remembering a name, going the extra mile to bless, extending an invitation, smiling. Smiling takes so little effort, but it is so winning. Mother Teresa once said, “Let us always meet each other with a smile, for the smile is the beginning of love.”

Kindness is felt through the sincere “How are you doing?” or “How can I pray for you?” Kindness is in the timely reply, the gentle answer, and the cheerful greeting. It is welcoming, generous, and winsome, sometimes silent but never unheard.

Think how much doubt, gloom, sadness, and desperation could be averted by the timely presence of a kind spirit. If we are not kind, what are we? Would our lives not become richer and more blessed by opening our hearts? Would we not do well to participate in furthering the kingdom of heaven through our treatment of those around us? 

Your response determines whether the world is a kinder or colder place today, because all of humanity is made up of people who choose one way or the other.

It matters.

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