Monday, October 19, 2015

The Earth is Full of Kindness

Growing up, I always hated watching the news. It seemed that whenever I watched the news, it would be nothing but bad story, after bad story of humanity at its worst. I would get to the end of the broadcast and I would feel horrible and think, "What kind of world are we living in?" 

I used to complain anytime the news was on because it was always depressing for me to watch, and not the way I wanted to start or end my day. Which is why one thing I love about modern media is the ability to flip through and read what you want to read, while skipping past what you don't. I love my Flipboard App where I can read the news. I also love Facebook for this reason; I can scroll right past the things I do not want to see, and go to the things that are joyful.

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I was home the other day, and my sister and I both being millennials, had a conversation about how people are staying informed more from what they read on the internet and from their friends on social media sites such as Facebook, than what they see on TV.

So I had an idea, for 24 hours I would routinely scan through Facebook to get a sense of what our world was really like. And you know what? I realized it is full of a lot of good. For every hundred good things, there might be one negative thing. I saw kindness being "shared" everywhere.  And there are three stories that came up in my news feed, of God's kindness present in our world, which I would like to share with you today.

One of the photos that I came across (and you may have seen as well) is of a young man who is on a subway train. Sitting next to him is a disabled man that had gotten onto the bus. The man was confused, anxious and worried. He was an elderly man who was kind of disheveled, to say the least. He did not know what to do. He sat down next to this young adult and he said, "I am scared." Then he went over and he took the young man’s hand. The young adult was shocked at first and shook his hand like he just wanted to shake hands. But the man did not want that. He wanted to hold hands. The young adult actually held his hand and put his arm around him. People are so moved by the kindness and gentleness that this young man showed to a stranger, and for that reason, the photo has gone viral on Facebook.

We all know that God is kind and merciful. The Psalmist says of the kindness of the Lord, "The Earth is full." We can discover God's mercy and kindness throughout the people on the Earth.

The next story happened at a wedding reception. You may have already seen the video taken during the mother-son dance. However, if you haven't seen the video, you may not realize it from the photo just to the left, but the mother is wheelchair bound from Multiple Sclerosis and could not dance. So the son brought his mother out onto the dance floor in the wheelchair. Mariah Carey's song, Hero, begins playing over the sound system. The son says, "I remember feeling uncomfortable standing over her. For the first few moments of the dance, it just did not feel normal. That is when I got down on my knees and danced with her. I had no idea of the impact it had until later when everybody told me. I wanted her to feel so special at that very moment. I tried to make the best of it and spun her around and continued with a smile at her. I do not recall at any point in the wedding thinking that this might be my last few moments with my mother. What I felt was right at the time. I am really glad I did because it is a memory that will last forever." You could see it in the eyes of all the people watching this son so devoted to his mother. I could not help but think of that bride. I always say, "If you want to know what kind of man you are going to marry, watch how he treats his mother." I could not help but think of the kindness and gentleness that was displayed before his mother. When people see that, they want to share it. That video has gone viral. 

Again, we hear in the Psalms, "Of the kindness and gentleness of the Lord, the Earth is full."

The last story I came across is of an elderly man who was crossing some train tracks. He was on an automatic scooter, and as he was crossing the tracks, his scooter got stuck. A number of cars would pass by him, then the bells started to sound and the lights began to flash. As the bars started to come down, the man was still stuck on the tracks.

Fortunately, a 19-year-old mother of two in a house not so far away happened to see the man and realize what was happening. She left her children and ran outside to the 75-year-old, 200 pound man. She forced him out of his scooter and walked him aside. Just as they got over the railroad tracks, the train came.

The girl says, "I just remember looking out the kitchen window seeing this happening and watching as cars continued to drive by to beat the train." She said, "I could not even think of anything else to do but to run out there." She ran out onto the train tracks to help the man. Fortunately, she did and she spared his life. She recounted, "I was freaking out, but I think my adrenaline kept me going. I tilted the wheelchair back and pulled him out. That is when the train hit the wheelchair. At first I thought the train had hit him because it was so close. After the shock of it, the man said, "Oh, my gosh. You are my Guardian Angel."

The reality is, the Earth is full of the kindness of God. Even though it is easy to get focused on the negative. Sometimes in life, we tend to focus on just the wrong in the world (our newscasters tend to do this). That is the enemy. The enemy that tries to get us to look at what is wrong with the world, to try to look at what is wrong with ourselves, to try to bog us down in despair and hopelessness. Ultimately, despair is not of God. Shame is not of God. Anything that causes us to look down on ourselves, to look down with disdain on others, to look at despair upon the world, it is not of God. Christ does not look upon the world with despair. He looks with great delight upon what He has created. He helps us realize that there is so much good in the world. So much grace in the world. When we do realize that and begin to look at our world like that, then that kindness begins to overflow and envelope our heart. Only then, will we realize that, "Of the kindness of the Lord, the Earth is full."

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