Reflections on The Kindness Diaries

I have been watching The Kindness Diaries. I have found it to be quite moving indeed.While watching, two things continuously occur to me. If you care to know, read on.

Begging or Bullying?

I spend most days with folks who find themselves needing to do exactly what the star of the show does, asking for help, with nothing to offer in return. In their case however, it’s for real.

Leon begs. Allow me to qualify that, by using my own definition.

When people have to get what they have to get, they way that they get it will always be understood as some form of begging or bullying. After all, they have to get what they have to get.

That is the explanation that I always offer to folks that “have,” when they are confronted with the exact situation that you see on the show. Leon begs. Sometimes though, he is so direct that it is off-putting, almost confrontational. That’s a mild way of bullying.

I offer this is as help, as a way to understand their actions when someone confronts you about something that they need, as Leon does. People do what they have to do, to get what they have to get. They have to find some way of begging or bullying to get it.

After all, what would you do?

The Gift Of Kindness.

We are all touched when we experience the acts of kindness on the show. It’s just awesome when Leon makes the big and kindly and unexpected presentation as a reaction to their kindness.

In my view, we are touched more deeply when the regular folks react kindly and provide a meal, or gasoline, or a safe place to sleep. It touches something inside of us when we see the generosity. It also touches something in us when Leon receives a cold and callous “No,” to his request for help. We see ourselves in the response of others. Our own sense of selfishness is pushed forward in our mind. We also recall our own better angels as we observe generosity in action.

Why do we react in the way that we do? Why do some say yes, and some no? Why do we?

We say no when we judge that the other person is not worthy of our generosity. It’s that simple. Deal with it.

We say yes for one of two reasons, or a combination of them.

  • One reason is that we recognize the situation as something that we have experienced ourselves. We know the feeling. Or,
  • We don’t bother to judge the person, we only react to the situation. Someone needs something from you and you have it to give. That’s it.

My final comment is this. If you are inspired, or perhaps shamed, into wanting to be more generous to those in need, try this:

  • First, see Jesus in the face of the other.
  • Second, know that you don’t need to wait for someone to approach you on the street. There are plenty of shelters, and free meals, and clothes closets and street ministries and churches where homeless folks depend on the the generosity of others. They are in every town or city because in every town or city there are people that need to do what they have to do to get what they have to get.

If you need help in knowing where or who you might serve, let me know. Or just ask around.

If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person?1 John 3:17

 

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