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Kindness is a gift; make sure to give it even in trying times

Columnist Leo Endel says you don't have to look far to find the Lord's admonition to be kind to one another.

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I’m writing this article sitting in the wrong place, at the wrong time, wiped-out after a midnight nap (if you can call it that) on a bench. This kind of rest isn’t worth much, but I did rise with the frustrations of last night beginning to dissipate. The LORD’s mercies are new every morning (Lamentations 3:21).

When I got off the plane, I received notice that my flight had been delayed until 10:30 Friday morning. I was disappointed, but I figured I could rent a car or catch a shuttle to Rochester. But by the time I’d exhausted every option, my frustration was reaching the breaking point. The Delta app wasn’t updating, and all the Delta agents had gone home. I had to leave the airport terminal to get back to the ticketing counter. All of this took 40 minutes, and my frustration level was rising with each minute.

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After waiting through a slow line of other frustrated people for 20 minutes, I remembered the old Mark Twain quote, “Under certain circumstances, profanity provides a relief denied even to prayer," and I started to believe he was right. (My mom trained me well and I still remember her washing out my brother’s mouth with dish soap; I gagged just watching.)

When I finally got to the agent, I was barely holding back a flood of frustration, but she met me with kindness even though she had no good news. It wasn’t her fault, and I knew it. There was nothing she could do, and I knew that, too.

Life is full of these kinds of frustrations. Lying on the bench hoping for sleep that wouldn’t come, I reminded myself that it really wasn’t that big of a deal. Travel enough and this stuff happens. I’ve spent quite a number of nights on an airport floor ... at least the bench was better than that.

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As I lay there, I became grateful for a lady who met me with kindness when I was struggling to be kind. I don’t think she knew how short my fuse actually was (kind of think of it, she probably did – I’ve watch people tear into them many times). It would have been wrong for me to pour out all my anger on her. I kept reminding myself of the biblical call to be kind.

Here are just a few biblical reminders:

Colossians 3:12, “Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience."

Ephesians 4:32, “Be kind and compassionate to one another ...”

1 Corinthians 13:4, “Love is patient, love is kind.”

Galatians 5:22, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness and self-control."

In a world that is all too angry and hateful, we will struggle with being kind. It is helpful for me to remember the God whose most prolific Old Testament attribute is His “loving kindness.”

“Because of the Lord’s loving kindness, we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning (even in an airport); Great is Your faithfulness. 'The LORD is my portion,' says my soul, 'Therefore I hope in Him.' ” Lamentations 3:22-24.

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Dr. Leo A. Endel is executive director and lead pastor at Emmanuel Baptist Church in Rochester. "From the Pulpit" features reflections from area religious leaders. To contribute, email us at life@postbulletin.com with "From the Pulpit" in the subject line.

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