The other night, there was a story on the news about nurses at Methodist Healthcare System in San Antonio. These nurses, the report said, are working up to 100 hours every week. They are pushing themselves to keep going, but they are so, so tired. The head nurse, Jane McCurley, said she has been through floods and fires and riots. But she has never seen what they have seen in the past weeks. And the reason isn’t just the situation. It’s the people. Patients in the past weeks have lashed out at nurses, threatening them with guns, knives, and violent bodily harm.
Nurse McClure pleaded with the public, “Please be kind. Please don’t take your frustration out on us, we’re the people trying to save your loved one’s life.”
Ephesians 4:31-5:2 has some beautiful words of guidance for times like this: Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior. Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you. Imitate God, therefore, in everything you do, because you are his dear children. Live a life filled with love, following the example of Christ.
We, God’s children, are to imitate God. If we are bitter, angry, full of rage, speaking harsh words, slandering others… we’re not imitating God. I know, we see lots of these evil behaviors out in the world. And sometimes we are tempted to think that a bit of rage, some harsh words, would set things right. But they never do. God asks us to put away the evil behaviors and pick up the healing ones.
Choose kindness, tenderheartedness, forgiveness. Choose a life “filled with love.” That’s the example Christ gives. Even as they nailed him to the cross, Jesus, spoke words of love and forgiveness. Surely we can at least be kind and forgiving as we weather this exhausting season of life.
This week, I’d like you to put one word in your heart: kindness. Go out of your way to be kind. Be kind in traffic. Be kind in line. Be kind on the phone. Be kind when you are frustrated. Be kind when you’re exhausted. Be kind to the other children of God you encounter today. They are, after all, your brothers and sisters.