Listen to the Mustn'ts, child,
listen to the Don'ts.
Listen to the Shouldn'ts,
the Impossibles, the Won'ts.
Listen to the Never Haves,
then listen close to me.
Anything can happen, child,
Anything can be.
from Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein (1974)
Put aside all bitterness, losing your temper, anger, shouting, and slander, along with every other evil. Be kind, compassionate, and forgiving to each other, in the same way God forgave you in Christ.
I love Instagram. And Twitter. And Facebook. I love seeing ridiculous and beautiful pictures and learning about people and events from all over the world. But I don’t love the meanness on social media. For every cat video or sunset picture, there is also anger, name calling, and ALL CAPS YELLING. We’ve all seen the arguments and hate-filled words that we type at one another – sometimes directed at people we know or sometimes at total strangers! Early Christians didn’t have SnapChat, but they had the same struggles we do: treating each other with kindness.
Being mean is easy: snapping back at someone who snapped at us, being mean to that annoying person, responding in anger when someone is rude to you. But choosing kindness requires courage, compassion, and love. God chooses to love us. God chooses to forgive us. And aren’t we grateful? We don’t have any control over how other people act, but we have complete control over how we respond to them.
In a world where you can be anything, be kind.
God of kindness, help me to be kind!
God of love, help me to show love!
God of forgiveness, help me to forgive!
Returning hate for hate multiplies hate, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
The light and love of God is enough to conquer all darkness, hate, and fear.
Today, and every day, walk through your life trusting in the power of God’s love.