Archive for January, 2007

Artificial Fruit is NOT "Yummy in the Tummy"

Monday, January 22nd, 2007

Last year — 2006 — was my self-designated Year of Kindness: the 12 months during which I would make a sho’nuff, all-out effort to be kind. Not just to “be nice” to my family and friends (although God knows that can be hard sometimes), but to everybody I met. So how did I do? Well, I discovered two things. Here’s the first:

Artificial fruit is not very tasty. You want that non-sequitur to make sense? Let me tell you a personal story.

I was a churchgoing kid; a faithful (thanks to my family) attendee at Sunday School, Children’s Church, Sunday services, Vacation Bible School, children’s and then teen group meetings of all kinds. When I think about showing kindness, I remember especially two women: let’s call them Sister A and Sister B. Both were fine Christians, dedicated and full of good works.

  • Sister A sacrificed comfort and her family’s approval to work within God’s will; so did Sister B. They were, after all, white women working with little black children in a black church, under black leadership. How hard is that?
  • Sister A was a Bible scholar; so was Sister B.
  • Sister A gave countless hours to the children she taught; so did Sister B.

Two wonderful, kind, and giving women who loved and obeyed God. But:

  • Sister A smiled and radiated the love of God. Sister B smiled, but despite the love of God that was locked inside her, she exuded determination and strength of will.
  • After 30 minutes in Sister A’s class, I felt warmed by her concern and caring. After 30 minutes in Sister B’s class, I admired her commitment and knowledge.
  • Sister A’s kindness was life-giving spiritual fruit: beautiful to see, sweet-smelling, and a joy to experience. Sister B’s kindness looked a lot like Sister A’s, but without the mouth-watering aroma and the juicy sweet taste. Sister B’s kindness was work.

All kindness is good. But some acts of kindnesss are like being tucked into a warm bed by loving hands. Others are like being tossed chunks of meat from a distance by zoo-keepers. If I try to “fake it til I make it,” my gritted-teeth kindness can chill to the bone. Working at kindness is not the way. So, what is? Tell you in my next post. 🙂

[tags]kindness,spiritual fruit[/tags]