I have to confess that I’m an 80’s music junkie. In my humble and simple opinion, the best music ever produced was in the 1980’s. A one hit wonder in the early 80’s was a song entitled “Cruel to Be Kind” by Nick Lowe. The tune was catchy even though the title and lyrics left much to be desired. I think you would agree that it’s not cruel to be kind.
Yet as we take a snapshot of culture today we might conclude that many seem to be gravitating toward the belief that it’s “cruel to be kind.” Pop culture’s message via television, music and movies to our children and young people often has a disrespectful, smart aleck and tongue-in-cheek tone to it. I think it invites the listener to consider words that are mean and cruel to be cool and funny. This mixed message is a slippery slope to a generation of young people in desperate need of love and kindness.
I’m reminded that in a very harsh and cruel culture, Jesus reminded His followers that His “Father is kind; you be kind.” (Luke 6:36) One of the main reasons Jesus was loved by so many was because of the kind manner with which He treated everyone. His message of love was revealed by the kindness of the words that He shared and His actions that were constantly on display. When Jesus came on the scene He made it “cool to be kind.” This message was embraced by His followers after His death and resurrection. It actually caused them to be given the name Christians, because of the way they practiced love and kindness just like Christ. It was this message that prompted Paul to encourage the people of his day with these words, “Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ has forgiven you.” (Ephesians 4:32)
What would happen to our world if we embraced this message? How would your relationships change in your marriage or at home, if you practiced a little kindness? What would happen at work if the words you shared were kind and positive, not hurtful and negative? Can you imagine the difference it could make in our community if every citizen began every conversation with a kind word before a critical one?