The following is a special guest post from Karen Gorbett...
As I’m sure we all know, kindness has been in short supply for quite some time. Sure, the “pay it forward” and “practice random acts of kindness” movements encourage us to be considerate of our fellow man and beast.
However, the kindness I’m referring to is small courtesies that we extend to others in our everyday lives, like…
· When I’m in the grocery store heading down a narrow aisle and someone else is coming toward me….I smile and step aside to let that person pass.
· When I’m at the grocery store in the checkout line with a cart full of groceries and notice the person behind me has 3 items in their arms…I let them go ahead.
· When I’m in Costco and there’s a steady stream of people walking out of the dairy room, not allowing anyone else to enter…I step aside and smile at the ladies who were trying to get in. (This happened today at lunchtime.) They smiled back and said thank you.
(I’m noticing a grocery-food theme here. I really do hang out in places other than grocery stores.)
My experience has been that most people will just go on their way and not acknowledge a kindness or a courtesy. Of course I can’t tell whether they think they deserve special consideration when they ignore me. Or if they can’t be bothered to be civil.
Would I like to be acknowledged in these instances? I’d be lying if I said I didn’t.
Even a nod of the head would be welcome. A recognition that the kindness was received. That humanity is not lost in an abyss of “me first.”
People’s reactions to kindness are a puzzle to me. Do they not know how to accept kindness when it is offered? Or don’t they believe it when they see it? Or do they see it and not know how to react?
Sometimes the lack of acknowledgement or response bothers me. My inside voice says, “Really???” And then I remember that I want to treat people the way I want to be treated. And if they can’t/won’t respond, then at least I’ve done my part. And will continue to do so.
Kindness…pass it on!
I'm still working my way through the book, "Bad Girls of the Bible." and this week I read the story of Lot's Wife. You may know it well. As the story goes...
Lot and his wife, known in the Bible only as "Lot's Wife," were living in a town full of people whose actions were displeasing to God. The name of the town was Sodom. The Bible states that it was full of men who were "wicked and were sinning greatly against the Lord."
It was God's desire to kill them all, but he made a deal with Abram, who was Lot's uncle, that He would not destroy the city if there could be found 10 decent people living there.
So God sent two angles, in the form of regular men, into the city to seek out these 10 folks. The angels ran into Lot, who invited them to stay with him in his home, and that's when the craziness began.
The city was full of gay men. And, as the story is told, the gay men knew that Lot was keeping these "new guys in town" in his home. So they banged on his door and caused a real scene, demanding that Lot bring the guys out and let them have sex with the men.
Lot refused and offered his virgin daughters to this mob instead. These men had no interest in the virgins, they wanted the men.
Seeing this, the angels were like "Look, we aren't sure we can find 10 decent people in this place, but we do know that we're going to destroy Sodom very soon. So, Lot, you and your people get out of town. And hurry! Something really bad is about to happen."
Lot pulled his family together and they prepared to leave. As they were leaving, the angels said to them, "Don't look back, just go!" But Lot's wife looked back. And she turned into a pillar of salt.
That's a REALLY abbreviated version of the story, you can read it yourself in the book of Genesis.
Typically, in church and Sunday School, the story focuses on Lot's wife, but there are a lot of sermons in this story, don't you think? Talk about issues!
Before I go further, let me touch upon just two of these issues:
1. I've always had a hard time digesting the fact that Lot was willing to give his daughters over to this mob of mean, angry men. I've wanted to think this was an embellishment, something added to the story for effect, but I guess it was true. It just shows how little regard was given to women back then. And, given the recent presidential election, one could argue that it's not extremely different now.
2. I've also wondered why God included this story in the Bible. It's often used by Christians who want to bash gay people, why would God provide such ammunition? After all, this is the same God who tells us to love one another, the same God who tells not to judge one another, the same God who teaches that there is no big sin or little sin. So I wonder why He didn't later destroy a city full of fornicators or liars or thieves. Sin is sin, right? Don't answer that, I've got my own opinion and I'm sticking to it. Plus we do know that there will be a next time.
OK, now back to the regularly scheduled programming and Lot's wife.
Bless her heart, she gets so much condemnation, but who could blame her? I could have been her. I probably would have been her. I mean really...
Strange men have come into her home to sleep. A mob of crazy men are outside of her door. And then the strange men tell her to immediately leave home, her town and everyone she knows.
I can hear myself asking the questions now... "Why do we have to leave right now? I have so much to do, give me a few days, what's the hurry?"
"You can't even give me a few minutes to grab some trail mix and a few pieces of my favorite jewelry? You guys are crazy!"
Oh yeah, I'd have problems with this.
Maybe I'd leave, but, once on the road, I do think I might look back. Isn't it just human nature to want to take one last look at the life you've left behind?
The author of "Bad Girls" gives a list of reasons why Lot's Wife may have looked back. Some of my favorites are that she was worried by the cries of the people she was leaving behind, she was afraid of her future, she dropped something, and she didn't trust God.
These all make sense to me. Then and now.
Have you ever felt as if God is asking you to move on, to leave your current condition behind? And you've felt it was the thing to do, but you keep looking back, stunting your own growth?
Maybe you're worried about people you're leaving behind.
Maybe you're not sure what life will look like when you walk into your destiny.
Maybe you drop your faith or your ambition or maybe even your dignity and find it far easier to simply stay where you are.
Maybe you're having trouble trusting a God you can't trace.
We've all been there at one point or another. But may we learn a lesson from Lot's wife.
May we keep looking forward, pressing forward. And may we never look back.
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