{source}<iframe style=”float: left; border: 1px solid #000000; background-color: #C0C0C0; padding: 2px; margin: 10px; -moz-border-radius: 3px; -khtml-border-radius: 3px; -webkit-border-radius: 3px; border-radius: 3px;” width=”400″ height=”225″ src=”http://link.brightcove.com/services/player/bcpid3625010258001?bckey=AQ~~,AAADS7v-7gk~,hKJf6vsV-lqiqffWT7pGsyiIFAMTti8w&bctid=4123233115001&width=400&height=225″ frameborder=”0″ allowfullscreen></iframe>{/source}Travis had almost reached the end of his shift at Freddy’s Frozen Custard & Steakburgers when a little boy approached the counter.  The boy ordered a mini mint Oreo Custard and began to put his money onto the counter.  When the boy’s pockets had been emptied, he was still a couple dollars short.  Travis smiled, pulled his credit card out of his pocket and paid the remainder of the little boy’s bill.  The little boy was all smiles as he took his custard back to his seat.  A few minutes later the boy handed him a receipt with a hand written note – and a $100 bill.  The note read, “Thank you for being so nice and paying for my custard. We need more people like you.”  Travis was amazed by the gift and said he would put it towards his college degree.

My son, Ryan, wrote a review of the new Cinderella movie for the Denison Forum website.  In fact, after I read his review I talked Jim into going!  We both enjoyed it.  Ryan discussed the theme of the movie found in the words that Cinderella’s mom shared with her.  She told her daughter, “I want to tell you a secret that will see you through all the trials that life can offer: Have courage and be kind.”  The rest of the movie is about Cinderella choosing to follow her mom’s advice.

I enjoyed the news story and I loved seeing the newest Cinderella.  I really believe the culture and even some in Hollywood are beginning to recognize that kindness is a powerful and important quality.  I am glad that the evening news wanted to run the story about Travis’s kindness to a little boy.  Cinderella is doing very well at the box office and I’m happy that kids are hearing that message about courage and kindness.  Could it be our culture is ready for a kinder, more compassionate message?

How can we, as Christians, encourage and help create a culture of kindness?  I think Travis and Cinderella’s mom have the perfect answers.

Travis was at work, probably looking forward to the end of his shift and the chance to go home.  He could have explained to the young boy that he didn’t have enough money for the ice cream and everyone would have understood.  Travis decided to go the extra mile and cover the cost.  He was rewarded first with the boy’s smile.  He was rewarded after that with a mother’s gratitude.  He has been rewarded since then with several media interviews and even this blog post.  Kindness is worth noting and chances are, people will notice.

Cinderella’s mom was right.  Courage is an important companion to kindness.  I’m thinking of two recent stories in the news.  Both were about young men in fraternities, some on a bus and another group that attended a party.  Somewhere in both of those crowds was a person who realized that what was happening was very wrong.  If just one person had stood up to say “no” and to insist on basic kindness, many lives might have been changed for the better.  Instead, great harm has come from both incidents to everyone involved.  Sometimes kindness will require the courage necessary to stand up against the crowd, and stand for what is right and good.  

Are we teaching our children that kindness is more important than popularity?  Are we setting the example among our families and friends that kindness is the standard of behavior we need to accept?  When someone thinks of us, or of one of our children, are they quick to label us as kind?

Proverbs 31 is about a woman of the highest character.  Verse 26 says, “She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.”  Our words should be kind and our actions must follow if we want to teach others the value of kindness.  I recently taught the book of Micah.  Micah was a prophet to God’s people and was trying to help them understand that they had grown self-centered and had created a culture that was unkind and therefore incapable of bringing glory to God.  In chapter 6, verse 8 the prophet told the people what God required.  Micah said, “He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?”  The culture Micah preached to refused to listen and eventually they lost everything.  God couldn’t bless a culture that was not kind.  

God’s word teaches that kindness is not an option, it is something God requires of his people.  Even now, my words convict my own heart and life.  It sure is easier to type those verses than it is to live them myself.  But I want to try…don’t you?  

Have courage and be kind.  Live aware of the people around you.  Kindness is a powerful quality and we will have the chance to prove those words today.  If you have a story to share with us at the end of the day, come back to the website and leave a comment.  Kindness is contagious and we all need to share that gift with one another.

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