We were speaking of how an act of kindness sticks in the memory. An act of unkindness also sticks.
A writer tells of going down a lane with a nursemaid in England when two village children ran out and shyly offered him some wild flowers they had plucked. He remembers bitterly how he haughtily rejected the flowers and ran and took the hand of his nursemaid. When he looked back, he saw the two children still standing and looking at him, and tears were running down their faces. "There," said the writer, "I first automatically rejected the Kingdom of God."
On the other hand, a certain Black Man will not forget this: A bus was crowded in a Southern city, and the Black section was overcrowded, so a Texan white man invited the man who was standing to share his seat in the white section. The bus driver objected and the Black man got up. And then the white man in protest stood up with him, refusing to be seated while the Black man stood. If that man doesn't remember—but I am sure he does—then I cannot forget. That deed shines against a dark background.
It does something to you while traveling in Japan to have the train pull out to the accompaniment of music over the loud-speaker. Then when you arrive at your destination, over the loud-speaker a voice graciously says, "You must be tired. We are sorry the train is two minutes late. Please see that you have left no parcels. Good-bye." It makes you feel that there is something more to traveling than mechanics. And as you wash your hands in the train lavatory, there is a bunch of fresh cut flowers, probably carnations. These touches touch you. A lot of it is superficial, but superficial or not, it puts a good taste in your mouth.
And then the personal contacts: I smiled once at a little girl and boy as they came through the train in Japan, and then they came through the car again and again to get another smile—and give a bigger smile.
Paul, looking back upon the shipwreck experience on Malta, remembered one thing especially: "The natives showed us uncommon kindness" (Acts 28:2).
Dear Father, help me today to search out someone who needs my kindness and give it and give graciously. Amen.
Affirmation for the day: Severe with self, generous and kind to everyone, especially the unkind and un-generous.