Every day we have options… choices to make. Unless we live alone is some isolated place, we interact with other people. That has its pros and cons! Over a lifetime I have tried interacting with “challenging” characters and situations in many ways. Being defensive, angry or manipulative generally do not work well. Genuine kindness goes the farthest. I have learned the hard way, both by giving and receiving in all kinds of human interactions, the truth of the statement: “Blessed is the influence of one true, loving human soul on another.” George Elliot
There are three words in this quote that lead me to translate the concept to “genuine kindness.”
Influence is about the exchange of information and ideas and how they change us. It is subtile. Influence does not require obedience. It is more of an invitation to a new or different way. It involves mutual respect and often more listening than speaking. Many times the one influenced observes behaviors and tone of voice more than the information conveyed in words.
True is a word we hear less and less in our culture of ‘everything is relative.’ It requires acknowledging facts and regarding some things as real. Not only tangible things, but things like gravity we cannot see or touch. When it comes to personal character it is authenticity. Most people can detect if someone is honestly interested their well-being or if they are being used at some level.
Loving sometimes feels like a lost or dying art. So many people spend time with their eyes glued to a computer, TV or smart phone screen that many are losing the art of personal interaction. Our souls do not receive the same response from an emoji as we do to face to face, focused attention with physical eyes and ears.
With few exceptions, people respond to genuine kindness.
Kindness is one facet of loving. It is friendly without being controlling. Kindness is respectful and considerate of others thoughts, opinions and feelings. It reads reactions and adjusts gently as it seeks to understand.
A genuinely kind person has a healing effect on others.
We all hunger to be heard and understood and want to be seen for the good in us. We may be afraid to be seen for what really goes on in our heads, but a kind person believes the best. They call us up to our better selves.
Some great advice that has been around forever is, if you want to have a good friend, be a good friend first. Genuinely kind people make good friends. It’s not always easy, but it is worth it. Abba provides all the resources we need when we lean in and ask because He is the source of all that is true, kind and loving.
How can you bless another person with genuine kindness?