I so enjoy the act of giving and receiving common courtesies. Not that I don’t enjoy true relationship, but there is something about receiving kindness from a stranger that communicates a sense of wellbeing in the world. When someone who has no vested interest acts with thoughtfulness, it stands counter to all the doom and gloom continually purported by the media. This courtesy can be small, like someone offering genuine thanks, or giving a sincere smile, or engaging in an act which momentarily thinks of another over themselves. Even if we have no other interaction with another human in a day, this simple connection makes us feel human. I can’t explain it but this flow of kindness can move throughout the world as we “pay it forward,” so to speak. Holding the door for a lady or someone elderly, slowing down to let a car merge into traffic, or picking something up that someone dropped—these things are just common acts of kindness, which require little effort but truly touch our fellow man.
We live on a thin sheet of tissue called time. On one side of this veil is all that we know and just beyond that façade is our eternity. Many of us stomp about on these fibers as if they won’t easily tear. And while the human body has resilience, in actuality we’re frailty defined. In a single moment, my known reality can irrevocably tear, pushing me into my eternity. Sure my life is held in the hands of the Lord but our current reality is but a vapor in the face of my forever.
Kindness and Common Courtesy
While living here on this earth, common courtesy is the least amount of effort we can exert towards the seeing of someone else. These acts make us human and less bestial. Animals and beasts focus solely on themselves. Even the nurture of a beast’s young is based on animalistic self-preservation. But humans are creatures who have the ability to see and respond to another with empathy. We can see and be aware of another’s person, and respond with kindness. Our brains are actually hard-wired for it. And sure, empathy goes far beyond merely being kind, but having an awareness of another person enough to be courteous is usually found in an empathetic person. If you can’t see anyone but yourself, you won’t extend yourself to common courtesy. A narcissist just doesn’t see anyone but themselves, so they have no propensity for common kindness.
In the post Spirit Words or Goodness, I wrote about how Martha changed the whole deli at our local grocery store because she followed the Spirit in how to interact with people. What started out as cordiality and common courtesy evolved into a doorway for the Love of Christ to flow. People at the deli were seen and made to feel valued and in return they let the same flow back. We were human not bestial.
I am not promoting a “We Are The World” moment here, because human goodness is actually nonexistent. But if we are born-again believers with the resident Christ living within our frame, we have His heart and awareness of others. I don’t have to be the world’s doorman to exhibit His life, but following His Spirit’s leading will take me to the selflessness that is awareness of others. Common courtesy and cordiality, whether given or received, makes us feel human and might be more than goodness. It could just be the Life of Christ towards my fellow man.
Finally, all of you be of one mind, having compassion for one another; love as brothers, be tenderhearted, be courteous; not returning evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary blessing, knowing that you were called to this, that you may inherit a blessing.
1 Peter 3:8-9 NKJV
Thank you to the Chicago Samaritans (including our own Byron Miranda) who jumped to the aid of a woman nearly being blown away in the dangerous winds tearing through the city this afternoon: http://nbcchi.com/7UmfkyN
Posted by NBC Chicago on Friday, February 19, 2016