...then don't say anything at all. We've all been told this growing up as kids. As adults we need to remember this rule applies to us too. How many relationships have been carelessly destroyed or even prevented over a thoughtless or sarcastic comment that was hurtful to the recipient? While age gives us the experience and discrimination to say or do things to a friend that is in their best interest (even hurtful things) we still need to acknowledge that unnecessary words or deeds are just that- unnecessary.
Being nice to our friends (and family for that matter) is not the end. We need to treat everyone around us with the respect and dignity that we as humans all deserve. This includes that punk who cut you off on the freeway when you were late to that appointment, and the lady with the stack of coupons in front of you at the grocery store who took 20 minutes to check out. Anger and non-sympathy like qualities are running rampant in this country and its being noticed.
Have you noticed the new billboards going up along the highways? "Be Kind." "Be Nice." "Generosity- Pass it On." "Smiles Are Contagious." Its all in an effort to get people to realize the small and simple things in life that truly make us happy. I guess this is such a huge problem nationwide that a group of people have actually come together to form an organization to bring awareness to their fellow Americans of this sadness. Back in 1997, Tokyo had the same problem and World Kindess Movement was born. Many different forms have been born after the likeness of this movement, but none can compare to what Jesus taught. No matter what tongue, culture, country, socioeconomic class you belong to, Christ-like attributes are universal.
My challenge this week for everyone (including myself) is to do a kind act every day for someone. This doesn't necessarily mean the same person, but for whoever you see needs it. Sometimes, it may even be yourself! "A soft answer turns away wrath." Try it. Use it. Live it. Smile. Laugh. Love. Fill your cup!