Does the low state of contemporary American society concern you? In our new book, VETERANS LAMENT: IS THIS THE AMERICA OUR HEROES FOUGHT FOR?, Oliver North and I quote a veteran who had this to say about the state of our culture: “When I see things like school shootings, workplace violence, drug abuse, and road rage, I worry about the world my grandchildren will grow up in.”
President Trump catches the Corona Virus and immediately the Internet is filled with flaming messages saying “I hope he dies.” Road rage, mass shootings, rudeness, incivility, public profanity, rampant drug abuse, and mob violence have become so common they hardly raise eyebrows anymore. We are all becoming victims of cultural coarsening—a phenomenon you cannot escape in today’s society.
As things continue to get worse in our society, many Americans look to elected officials to restore human decency to our daily lives. They think if we just elect the right president, senators, or congressional representatives, things will soon take a turn for the better. Although I am actively involved in politics at the local, state, and national levels and think you should be too, I am not so foolish as to think politicians can save America. They are part of the problem, not the solution, and I include Democrats, Republicans, and Independents in this statement.
Think about it. We have had presidents, senators, and members of Congress from both parties serve in office since our nation’s founding and yet, over time, the culture has continued to devolve into coarseness. If politicians could save America from this downhill slide into moral decay, they would have already done so. Vote, support the candidates of your choice, and make your voice heard in the public square, but don’t expect elected or appointed officials to turn America back to its Christian roots. Politicians cannot save America, but God can. Even better, He can use you as one of His foot soldiers.
Jesus gave us the solution to most of the cultural problems we see around us every day in the Greatest Commandment when He told us to love our neighbors as ourselves. As a foot soldier for Christ, your “weapon” in the battle to restore human decency to the culture is Biblical love. An important part of loving your neighbors as yourself is being kind to them. To be kind is to be considerate, compassionate, and generous. These things are the opposite of what we often see on the news and in public.
Biblical love requires you to act out of goodwill and the best interests of others. Being kind to your neighbors is an important part of loving them as yourself. Kindness is a fundamental aspect of Biblical love. This is why practicing kindness is the most important thing you can do to restore human decency in our culture. Lest you think “just being kind” is a too-little-too-late strategy, think of what would happen if all 216 million Americans who claim to be Christians applied this strategy starting today and continued to apply it every day hence.
KINDNESS AND GENTLENESS IN THE BIBLE
The Bible is replete with verses encouraging God’s children to be kind. An edifying verse on kindness is 1 Corinthians 13:4 where we read, “Love is patient and kind.” In 1 Corinthians 13, kindness is presented as one of the necessary elements of Christian love. This is important because learning to love your neighbor as yourself, is what Christ expects of you in the battle for America’s soul.
Ephesians 4:32 is another verse that makes clear the Lord’s expectation of kindness. This verse reads, “Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.” We know Christ is kind. Since he is our example in all things, it follows that we should be kind. You cannot love God and hate his children no matter how much their personal, political, or religious views differ from yours, and you cannot love your neighbors without being kind to them.
Don’t make the mistake of thinking kindness is a weak strategy for overcoming the ugliness seen around you. There is power in kindness. A simple act of kindness can turn a bad day into a good day or, at least, a better day for the recipient. Kindness can be uplifting, encouraging, and reassuring to people. It can inspire hope and change people’s lives.
Kindness can be just what the doctor ordered when someone needs an emotional boost. It can put a smile on the face of someone who is discouraged. It can even turn despair into hope and anger into compassion for people who are struggling, aggrieved, or just frustrated. An important benefit of kindness is that it can be contagious. Recipients of kindness often respond by being kind to someone else. Finally, kindness is mutually-beneficial. It helps you as much as it helps the people you are kind to. Every act of kindness you perform, no matter how small, brings you one step closer to Christ. Every person you turn around with your example of kindness becomes one more soldier for Christ in the battle to save the soul of America.
Dr. Goetsch is the author of Veteran’s Lament: Is This the America We Fought For? and Christian Women on the Job: Excelling at Work without Compromising Your Faith, Fidelis Books, an imprint of Post Hill Press.