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Be Kind

Be Kind

By The Rev. David M. Crosby, Assistant Rector, November 13, 2013

Recently at 1823 (The Café at Virginia Seminary), a group was exploring definitions of Standards of Righteousness when they came to this: “In everything do to others as you would have them do to you; for this is a law and the prophets” (Matthew 7: 12). This is “The Golden Rule,” the rule of all rules. It is found in most major religions of the world. Judaism, Hinduism, Islam, Buddhism and Confucianism all have some form of this saying, but most state it differently: If you know how you don’t want to be treated, then you know how others don’t want to be treated. This is sometimes referred to as “the Silver Rule.”

The version Jesus offers seems more open-minded and challenging. It speaks from a position of compassion and care extended to one another rather than that which may inevitably require some apology, seeking of forgiveness and ultimately, hopefully, gaining reconciliation. We promote forgiveness and reconciliation, but starting from goodness, from Love, knowing how we hope to be treated, and letting that guide us in our treatment of others seems the better course. But it requires understanding on our part about how we wish to be treated.

Beginning in 2006, I spent much time in prayer, quiet reflection, and active writing to respond to the question of call for my church. It was lots of time with trusted people, caring others, and some strangers to share who and what I am, and what I offer in continuing service to God. When the Committee on Priesthood recommended me to the Bishop, they wrote the following: “Kindness is one of his essential attributes. He is definitely a pastor – and will always be one.” That, in a word, is basically my answer to this reflection about the Golden Rule. That is how I want to be treated. That is how I hope I treat others.

Kindness abounds in my life, and I am blessed because of it. Chrissie, the Heart Of My Heart, is one daily personification of Kindness in my life. Much of what any of you may see in me as kind has been cultivated from this wonderful woman who shares her life with me. My families, the immediate one which bore me, the extended one which accepted me, earlier parish families and now here at Immanuel, demonstrate regular instances of kindness to me and for others. These examples of Kindness guide me, helping me to see how I wish to be treated, and informing me about how to treat others. There were many before them, and through God’s Grace, there will surely be more to come after them.

Kindness. It is a quality of being warmhearted, considerate, humane, and sympathetic. All these things point to kindness as one of the characteristics, or attributes, of God. We were made in the image of God. The great kindness of God is never-ending. Strive always to love like God.

One of my favorite casual shirts says, “Human kindness. Be both!”

Blessings & Peace,