‘Love is patient, love is kind.’1 Corinthians 13:4 NIV (2011 Edition)
Truly great people understand the power of kindness. Once while Abraham Lincoln was dining in the White House one of his guests blew on his coffee, poured it into his saucer, and drank from it. As you might imagine, some of the refined ladies and gentlemen seated nearby were aghast, and for a moment the room was filled with an embarrassed silence.
Then Lincoln took his coffee, poured it into his saucer, and for the rest of the evening drank directly from it. And you know what? Everyone else in the room followed suit! One small act of kindness saved a White House guest unbelievable embarrassment. And that simple but thoughtful gesture by one of America’s greatest presidents reminds us of the value of setting an example of kindness.
Chances are you’ve never heard of Stephen Grellet, a French-born Quaker who died in 1855. He’d still be unknown to the world at large, except for a few immortal lines that will likely be remembered forever: ‘I shall pass through this world but once. Any good therefore that I can do or any kindness that I can show to any human being, let me do it now. Let me not defer nor neglect it, for I shall not pass this way again.’
Each day has one thing in common with the next. Both offer opportunities to show kindness, and when missed, those opportunities leave you with unwanted regrets.
Poet C.R. Gibson wrote, ‘I have wept in the night for the shortness of sight, that to somebody’s need made me blind. But I never have yet had a twinge of regret, for being a little too kind.’