In the tumultuous time and society that we find ourselves in, I believe that more kindness and forgiveness would go a long way.
Begin with Kindness
About a year ago, I joined the cast of a Broadway Revue show, Broadway to Africa.
Broadway to Africa (BTA) is an annual fundraiser at its core, supporting Young Life Africa/Middle East. I will write in greater detail about BTA in a future post as we begin rehearsals for this year’s production.
The group of people who produce, direct, choreograph, and perform in this production are some of the very best I have ever worked with in a theatrical setting. Over the past 11 years, I’ve had some wonderful experiences in theatre, but I also had a handful of terrible ones too. The backstage drama and the theatre politics had made me very disenchanted with the whole scene. Then I found BTA and I was suddenly overwhelmed by what a great experience it turned out to be.
Beyond just enjoying singing/dancing/acting again, this particular production came with valuable life lessons and the positive influence of my castmates.
I was in a tough place emotionally as we were nearing Tech Week. My grandfather went into hospice and we knew our time with him was limited. My fellow cast and crew surrounded me, supported me, and prayed with me. I was treated with such kindness and grace.
And there’s the keyword: Grace. They reminded me about grace.
To me, showing someone grace is to treat them as God treats us. To quote the dictionary definition:
“(In Christian belief) the free and unmerited favor of God, as manifested in the salvation of sinners and the bestowal of blessings.”
So to treat someone with grace is to give them free and unmerited favor and to bestow blessings upon them. When you boil that down even further, it’s really about being kind to one another and for no reason at all.
I’m reminded of a song that is based on Psalm 19:14, “Let The Words.” My favorite rendition is by the a cappella group from the University of Oregon, On the Rocks.
To bestow blessings can be as simple as a random compliment to a stranger. This is one that I try to do often when I’m out and about. I’ve approached strangers to tell them something nice and I’ve been met with weird facial expressions as if to say, “Who the heck are you and why are you walking up to me?” Once I’ve given the compliment, their faces soften, huge smiles appear, and their expressions usually seem to say, “Wow! I didn’t see that one coming.” Who knows what difference that little interaction might make in a person’s day or how it might affect another encounter they have after that?
These are the little ways that we can make a positive change in the world around us.
Follow-Up with Forgiveness
The more difficult task is to forgive.
We all know that no one is perfect. At least, I sure hope we know that. Just as we will err from time to time, so will our friends, family, and even strangers. Sometimes they will err against us.
Some of those mistakes will be small and easy to forgive, while others may be quite large and very damaging. All the same, we must work to forgive. This can be very hard to do and may take a good deal of time.
I think the little moments of forgiveness are more often overlooked and underestimated though. Taking social media for example, it is easy for us to assume and read the worst tone in what someone says to us in a text format. One way to quickly make the world a better place is to avoid heavy-handed reactions to these interactions. Forgive the way something may have come across. Even if someone is intentionally sharp or attacking, forgive them for that then. If you can do this, your response can be better tempered with kindness and grace.
These may seem like such minuscule ideas, but their impact can be so great. Whenever I have experienced kindness and forgiveness at the most unexpected times, I have been so pleasantly surprised and grateful that it immediately lifted my spirits and restored a bit of my faith in my fellow man. I find myself inspired to go forth and do the same.
This is the ripple effect that we can create and it is something that we have a great deal of control over, unlike most things in our world and lives. So to be cliché:
“Be the change you wish to see in the world.”
🎶 Today’s Jam 🎶
“All Of the People” by Panama Wedding
A happy little Friday ditty with a fun lyric video.