Signs

What if people had signs hanging around their necks that said what was going on in their lives or saying what had happened in their past?

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I don’t know about you, but sometimes I am wrapped up in my little world … okay, a lot of the time. I focus on how people treat me or make me feel, and treat them accordingly. However, that isn’t how Christ interacted with the public. He focused on the people who surrounded him instead of himself. Lately, I’ve noticed just how far a small act of kindness can go when dealing with others. In February, every year, our church has “Kindness Month.” We are encouraged to do acts of kindness all throughout the month and write the deeds (with no name) on little hearts and stick them up on the church wall. The goal is to focus on others; however, what is amazing is how much people respond to even the smallest acts of kindness.

People remember kindness. If you do something kind for someone, they are more apt to remember you and respond positively the next time they see you. People want to be noticed, in fact, they long for it. That is what made me ponder this thought at the beginning of this post. What if people wore signs around their necks that said what was going on in their lives, or saying what had happened in their past? Would I treat them with more respect and compassion? Sometimes after I get to know someone and find out stuff about them it makes it much easier to interact with them – it makes me more understanding… and kind.

For instance, think of the cashier who seemed sullen and wouldn’t converse with you. What if her sign said:
“Waiting on test results to see if my Mom has cancer.”

Maybe your waiter didn’t meet your scale of attentiveness. What if she had a sign that said:
“Working two jobs.
Single Mom.
My kid has the flu.
The person who was supposed to relieve me is an hour late.”

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What if the nurse who was gruff and unkind had a sign saying:
“My Husband served me with divorce papers today.
My kids are moving away.”

What about the coworkers we are around each day that irritates us? What if one of them had a sign saying:
“I was repeatedly molested as a child.”
Or another maybe:
“My Dad was a mean drunk who used me for his punching bag.”
I know people with signs that would say:
“My child has Autism.”
“My spouse has cancer.”
“My Parents did drugs. I was raised by a family member.”
“My husband cheated on me.”
“Nothing I ever did was good enough for my Dad.”
“My baby is teething and won’t sleep or quit crying.”
“My husband is a soldier stationed overseas, and we haven’t seen him in 5 months.”

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If we saw signs like this, would we be more understanding? Would it make a difference in the amount of grace we give them?

Instead of leaving a small tip, would we leave a larger one? Maybe instead of complaining we might smile at them, say their name, look them in the eyes, and ask how their day is going. Furthermore, would we ask questions to show we care about them? Maybe even give them a candy bar with a smile and say, “Everyone can use a bit of chocolate in their lives!” (Isn’t that the truth?!)

Kindness, it truly shows God’s love to people. Jesus really saw people … their past, their struggles, their burdens, their trials. Some signs we would condemn, but Christ saw them all and still loved these people. He also spent a massive amount of time in prayer so he could stay attuned to the Father and needs of others. Oh, to have eyes of compassion like Jesus: He listened… He cared… He helped… He was kind. The people could tell, and it drew them like moths to a flame. Everyone is drawn to kindness. Possibly, the element missing today in spreading the gospel is the added touch of kindness.

“And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.” Ephesians 4:32

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How about you? Have you ever wondered the same thing? How do you show compassion to others?

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