Have you ever heard the saying, “hurting people hurt people”?
It’s when someone is hurting so badly that their pain seeps out into the people around them through criticism, rudeness, resentment, and so on.
My first experience with this was years ago in a restaurant where I was a waitress. The staff and I got along well and had a fun time at work until this new woman started working. For unknown reasons, she would go out of her way to be rude to me.
We would walk around the same corner and she would just stand there and say, “move!”. She made deliberate attempts to get in my way and eventually stopped saying “move” but just gave me a mean look. After about two weeks, human nature kicked in and I began to participate with negative responses. I felt justified in my behavior (well, she started it, right?).
Until this day…….
It was the holiday season and I was baking cookies to share with my neighbors and family. A feeling came over me that I should take a plate of cookies to my not-so-nice co-worker.
Do you ever get that little nudge from God asking you to do something you don’t understand? (or worse, a nudge from God to do something you REALLY don’t want to do)?
This was one of those moments for me. Why would God ask me to do something nice for someone who was never nice to me from the beginning? I figured if I took her cookies, she would probably just laugh at me, humiliate me, or not even accept my gift. My mind told me I was putting myself in a vulnerable situation, yet my heart was telling me to listen to the words God was whispering in my ear.
I lined a paper plate with some colorful tissue paper and chose the prettiest cookies. Then I wrapped the plate in clear tissue paper and tied it all together with holiday ribbon. It looked so professional and inviting.
Anxiously, I brought my plate of cookies to work (praying on the way for the right words). When I saw her, I asked if she would come outside for a minute. I didn’t want to put her on the spot and give her cookies in front of other people. If she was going to reject my offer, I wanted it done in private!!
When she came out, I said, “You may think I am strange, but I brought you some holiday cookies. I hope you enjoy them.”
Immediately, tears began to stream down her face. She responded, “No one has done anything nice for me in so long. I moved here from Florida with my boyfriend and he broke up with me a month ago. I’m here all alone”.
It was an eye-opening moment for me. God was showing me that hurting people really do hurt people. She was so full of pain that it seeped out as anger and frustration.
God was showing me that as faithful Christians we are not to take those acts personal, but instead, share acts of Gods loving kindness. Think about it………… When Jesus was on the cross he was asking the Father to forgive them “for they know not what they do”. If Jesus can overlook what the Roman’s did to Him, then we can overlook someone having a bad day, right?
Is there someone in your life who is hurting, someone unpleasant to be around?
My mission for this post is to encourage as many people as I can to put negativity, justifications and pride aside. Replace those things with random acts of kindness, encouraging words and God’s unconditional love (for no other reason than to just spread God’s love to a hurting world).
Here are some ideas to get you started…
- My number one way of showing people I care is to give food made from the heart. Cookies and treats to neighbors. Chicken noodle soup to someone who’s sick. Cooking a few freezer meals like lasagna, for someone who just lost a loved one and doesn’t have the energy to cook. Fresh fruit for the homeless.
- A woman at my church always has candy in her purse. She greets everyone with a smile and a piece of her yummy candy.
- Take a co-worker a cup of coffee or a bagel in the morning.
- Share some of your garden harvest with neighbors.
- Hold the door for someone who has their hands full.
- Offer to babysit for an hour so a single mother can have a little break.
- Ask the grocery store clerk how her day is going (and thank her for ringing up your groceries), even if she was slow. She could be in training or maybe she was up all night with a sick baby.
- Offer a cold drink to the garbage collector on a hot day.
- Put runaway grocery carts (near someone’s car) back in the stall, even if it isn’t your cart.
- Leave a random sticky note on someone’s desk to say “Hey, hope you’re having a nice day”.
- Smile at everyone.. Someone once told me that a smile is free to give away, but could mean the world to the receiver.
Kindness is infectious!!
Feel free to comment below. How do you share kindness to the people around you? How has someone else’s act of kindness been a blessing in your life?