While watching the new movie SONYA I was struck by the level of grace and kindness displayed by a woman in a difficult situation.

The movie tells the story of Sonya, an orphaned teenager who lives in a work house because she has nowhere else to go. She is tormented by all the girls in the home. You would think that being in this situation day after day, year after year, it would harden her heart against the people that are ill treating her.

Sonya’s heart has not become cold however. She is always looking for a way to extend grace and kindness to other girls in the home, even if they are tormentors, bullies, or enemies.

Sonya is a model Christian living a life of grace and kindness.

Jesus said, “You should love your neighbor as yourself. There is no commandment greater than these.” (Mark 12:31)

This scripture reminds me of one of my favorite poems about kindness.

Did you ever see a tadpole on the pond?

He goes around with just one fin.

Somebody said, “We better take his fin away-

To help him get along.”

But when he got back on the water,

He could not get across.

He swam like crazy, but he wasn’t very fast-

And he almost drowned.

Then someone remembered what we had done

So they put his fin back on.

And now he’s swimming around, just like before,

With both his fins he can go…

This poem is a beautiful metaphor for Jesus’ teaching. God wants us to be good to others who are in need. Just as the tadpole needs two fins to swim well in the pond of life, so do we. When the fin is taken from the tadpole, it makes life more difficult for him. When someone takes away our life source of love from Christ, we can feel miserable. We can sometimes find ourselves drowning in our pain. If someone returns the fin that God gave, then suddenly our swimming in life improves. We are given the energy to live.

Like Sonya, Jesus teaches us how to keep the focus on love, especially towa rd the unlovable. Let’s take a closer look at our Lord and Savior, the Son of God, who came to show us the meaning of unconditional love!

Jesus had many opportunities to hurt others,

but instead He chose to love those who were hurting Him.

Sometimes Jesus felt hurt, embarrassed, upset, or angry. He showed compassion instead. The book of Matthew records stories that illustrate this point.

In Matthew 15:12, the Pharisees say, “Look! He [Jesus] is eating with tax collectors and sinners!” They were angry at Him because He cared for the oppressed.

Matthew 26:67 says, “…and slapped Him in the face.” The religious leaders were so angered by His teaching that they tried to physically harm Him.

In Luke 23:11, Jesus was brought before Pilot, who asked Him, “…Are you the king of the Jews?” But Jesus was calm and said, “…are you saying this on your own or did others tell you this about Me.”

Luke 23:14 continues with Pilate telling him that “The whole battalion is expecting a release from You.” Jesus responded to Pilot by telling him that He has the power to let himself go free or to die on the cross, but that He chooses to give the other men their freedom.

Luke 23:22 says, “So they took Jesus and flogged Him…” Jesus knew that He would be beaten and stoned. He suffered unjustly, yet He did not fight back against His attackers. He stayed quiet.

Luke 23:27-30 records, “A large crowd of people followed. And women from all parts of Galilee followed. Even among them were Mary…And when they wanted to return from carrying the cross, because they saw Jesus, walking ahead of them…”

Luke 23:34 reads, ” ‘Father forgive them, for they know not what they do…”

Luke 23:35-36 reads, “The people…stood watching…They [the soldiers] threw their lot for His robe,…They divided His clothes,…cast lots for His garment…”

Luke 23: 39-43 continues, “Then one of the criminals…he began to rebuke him…and said, ‘Lord, remember me when You come into Your Kingdom.’ And Jesus said to him, ‘Truly I say to you today, you shall be with Me in Paradise.’ ”

Matthew 27:44 says, “At that time Jesus cried out in a loud voice, saying, ‘Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?’ (which translated is My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?)”

Matthew 27:50 says, “When Jesus therefore had received the sour wine, He said, “It is finished,” and He bowed His head and gave up His spirit.”

During Jesus’ crucifixion, He prayed a prayer for His executioner that was not rpayed for Him.

How often are we kind toward someone who doesn’t deserve it? When there is an opportunity to be mean or cruel, but we decide to be kind…instead?

God created us with love in His heart.

Our Maker loves us for who we are, without having to change us, before we are worthy.

We are not worthy of God’s love, we are worthless sinners. But that does not stop our Father from loving us.

Unconditional love is the purest form of love. We have to wait until we are in Heaven for the full effect of unconditional love, until we are changed from our sinful selves into perfect beings like Jesus.

Since we are not yet perfected, we try our best, with the aid of the Holy Spirit, to learn how to love unconditionally. It’s really hard to do!

Unconditional love is impossible for mankind to accomplish; we will make mistakes.

However, we have our Lord and Savior Jesus to guide us. Through the Bible we are instructed on how to act in situations.

Romans 12:16 says, “Be in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty but associate with the lowly…”

Galatians 5:22-23 tells us to, “…love your neighbor as yourself…”

Galatians 5:26 – “Let us not become weary in doing good…”

1 Thessalonians 5:15 & 18 reads, “See that no one repays another with evil for evil…In everything give thanks for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

Hebrews 13:1, “Let brotherly love continue. Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by this some have unwittingly entertained angels.”

Galatians 6:2 says, “Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.”

Matthew 5:43-48 says, “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you. This is God’s commandment to you…For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet only those friends, what do you do that is extraordinary? Do not even the Gentiles do the same?

And, “Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect” (Matthew 5:48).

(If you are new to the Bible, you may want to find a version without the chapter & verse numbers. Those in the original texts were added in the 16^{th} century and it helps your eyes from getting confused when reading.)

Here are some things you can do every day to be a kind person in a world gone mad.

  • Fake smiling. When someone sees you smile, they cannot help but smile too. (Your mood will improve too!)
  • Hold doors open for those behind you.
  • Ask people, “How are you today?” Really mean it! Put a genuine smile on your face and be ready to listen to their response and help them if necessary.
  • Ask someone you don’t know their name. Most people think you forget their names quickly. They really appreciate it when you remember!
  • Wave to someone walking towards you on a sidewalk or street. Don’t forget to wave back.
  • Smile at your children, spouse/partner, colleagues, boss, etc. Look straight at them and smile.
  • Love the unlove