If Only People Would Just Be Nice

Do you think Al Capone knows something about kindness?

It would be easy to say, “If everyone would just be nice to each other and simply say kind words” It is also easy to say “forgive”.  In reality, it is not always easy to do either.

Try giving a kind word to someone, who you want to kick in the rear. Such people are not always receptive or able to respond in kind. Guess what? They are the ones, who need a kind word or an act of kindness the most.

Kindness is a precious gift that we can give to others. I would definitely call kindness, a gift.  Yes, you’re looking at a photo of Al Capone. Where am I going with this? How does forgiveness figure into this?

The above photo makes for a great foreshadowing of a short story that I’ll share.  Some time ago, I sent a small Kindle Fire tablet to a young man in Michigan. The young man is a popular YouTuber and I’ve enjoyed his style of humor.  The tablet was sent as a peace offering or a kind gift. Did he ever say, “Thank you”?

Sadly, I never got a thank you and I probably should not have expected it. I didn’t see any hints of appreciation or clues to his reaction in any of his videos.   I’ve also left words of encouragement. It is quite possible that I missed it.

It would be easy to read this and come to some erroneous conclusions.  The young man isn’t ungrateful or in need of a kick in the rear. In reality, the guy is hurting inside and he’s angry with me. Did you read the part about “peace offering”? 

A couple of years ago, the young man sent an angry letter to me.  He angrily shared how I have hurt him with my carelessness.  I honestly did not know that I had done so. When I saw my errors and the Holy Spirit helped me in seeing my friend’s pain, I felt grief at my sins and a need to repent. This repentance required that I ask him to forgive me.

Do you know that this story could have gone one of three ways? Years ago, I had a very serious anger problme. Some people express their anger, physically. My anger was often expressed through words.  It was my way of dealing with the world around me.  Do you see why I chose that photo?

At that time, I could have easily taken an angry approach to the young man’s letter.  If social media had been available; it is quite possible that I’d have wrecked havok on the guy. Have you looked at Facebook, YouTube and blogs, lately? As a writer, I would have made use of a blog site.  Do you see why I chose that photo?

In fairness, the young man could have done the same thinng. It’s not hard; as he is a popular YouTuber. He could have easily used his YouTube channel to inflict harm on me. There are other tools that he could have used to expose my personal information to his fans.  As you can guess, my friend chose not to do so. In truth, we were acting in kindness to each otherrr. Yet, we knew it not.

Image result for 1 John 1:9What of the other two options?  The second optionn should be called “the easy out”.  Yes, I do need to ask God to forgive me.  As per 1 John 1:9, God will forgive me and wash me if I confess my sins. I imagine that John could have done something similar.  Oh Jesus, I do forgive this give this man for hurting me.

Howeverr, there is something missing.  A confrontation is needed and we did need to talk. I needed to be confronted and I needed to ask the guy to forgive me. Here is why.

Here is what Jesus says in Matt 18:15-16

15 “If your brother sins, go and show him his fault in private; if he listens to you, you have won your brother. 16 But if he does not listen to you, take one or two more with you, so that by the mouth of two or three witnesses every fact may be confirmed.

Here is what Jesus says that I’m supposed to do:

23 Therefore if you are presenting your offering at the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, 24 leave your offering there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother, and then come and present your offering. Matt 5:23-24

It is not easy to do this; however, God is able to help you.

Did I expect the guy to suddenly forgive me? If forgiveness was truly easy then Jesus died needlessly. Fact is, forgiveness is not easy and it takes time. At first, I made every effort to seek forgiveness and it seems that I hit a stone wall. In reality, my friend did see my trail of apologies; however, he was not ready.

Here is a friendly tip: Forgiving someone is not always easy and it takes time. If you are struggling with forgiving the person, then say something. Let the person  know that you need space and time. If possible, the person should quietly pray for you.  At the same time, I’d encourage you to pray for that person, too. Don’t be afraid to ask Jesus for help.

It is easy to say “I forgive you” for something trivial. It is also easy to give a kind word or give a gift to someone, who will respond in a like fashion. However, we’re not called to take the easy road; rather it is the one that is less traveled.

It take work to forgive someone or ask for forgiveness.  I’ve been there and I can assure you that God is able to help you.  It is also challenging to give a kind word or act to someone, who isn’t immediately respondinng. For this reason, itis a good idea to pray for the person.

Has the young man ever came out and say “I know that you’re sorry and I forgive you”? I am really not sure and it’s been a couple of years. But, I know that God is faithful and Jesus will help him. I can say it because of what has been done for me.

What about you?

Barry Brindisi

Author of "You Are Not A Lesser Human".

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