Consider that perhaps the jerk who cut you off in traffic last night is a single mother who worked nine hours that day, that she was rushing home to cook dinner and help with homework, and then do the laundry, and then try to spend a few precious moments with her children.
And perhaps the pierced, tattooed, seemingly disinterested young man who takes forever at the checkout stand, is a worried 19-year-old college student, who is balancing his apprehension over final exams with his fear of not getting his student loans for next semester.
And perhaps the scary looking bum, begging for money in the same spot every day (who really ought to get a job!) is a slave to addictions that we can only imagine in our worst nightmares.
And perhaps the old couple walking annoyingly slow through the store aisles and blocking our shopping progress are savoring this moment, knowing that, based on the biopsy report she got back last week, this will be the last year that they can go shopping together.
Let us be slow to judge and quick to forgive. Let us show kindness, patience, empathy and love. May we open our hearts not to just those who are close to us, but to all others. –Author unknown
–Attributed to (among others) Ian MacLaren, which was the pen name of Scottish preacher John Watson, who wrote in a chapter on “Courtesy” in a 1903 book:
This man beside us also has a hard fight with an unfavoring world, with strong temptations, with doubts and fears, with wounds of the past which have skinned over, but which smart when they are touched. It is a fact, however surprising. And when this occurs to us we are moved to deal kindly with him, to bid him be of good cheer, to let him understand that we are also fighting a battle; we are bound not to irritate him, nor press hardly upon him nor help his lower self.
Ephesians 4:31-32 — Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.
Colossians 3:12 — Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.
Galatians 5:21-22 — But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.
A MEDITATION BY MOTHER TERESA:
People are often unreasonable, illogical and self centered;
Forgive them anyway.
If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives;
Be kind anyway.
If you are successful, you will win some false friends and some true enemies;
If you are honest and frank, people may cheat you;
Be honest and frank anyway.
What you spend years building, someone could destroy overnight;
If you find serenity and happiness, they may be jealous;
Be happy anyway.
The good you do today, people will often forget tomorrow;
Do good anyway.
Give the world the best you have, and it may never be enough;
Give the world the best you’ve got anyway.
You see, in the final analysis, it is between you and God;
It was never between you and them anyway.