I am often dismayed at the anger and self-interest which seem to guide a majority of the people I encounter. Whether it’s the person who deliberately speeds up to block me from changing lanes to the people who seem incapable of rational and courteous interaction on the Internet, simple kindness seems to be in short supply these days.
Some of it appears to stem from entitlement — the “I’m the most important person here and you WILL pay attention to me” attitude. Some of it comes out of the absolute disregard for the feelings and worth of the people around you (I guess it could be said that that’s a natural part of entitlement, too). I realize politics brings out the worst in people these days, but I’ve made comments on political posts or stories that should have prompted debate — angry debate, maybe — but instead provoked ad hominum insults about me. Not the candidate or topic. Me as the commenter.
I’d love to tell you I’m perfect, but I know better (and you do, too) 🙂 Still, I’m thankful that the Lord has made enough of an inroads to my heart that I am at least able to restrain the impulse to unkindness on those occasions it arises.
The one thing that’s happened to me fairly recently was an incident where a prescription for one of my husband’s medications was messed up. It was probably the most important of those he takes and I was frazzled to begin with. Still, with the help of the Lord, I kept my cool and waited patiently until the situation was resolved. During my wait, I saw customers come to the pharmacy and yell, snap, argue and otherwise display their anger, when all that was called for was an attempt at courteous conversation which would have gotten their individual situations handled just as well. When they called me back to the counter to pick up the meds and pay, the pharmacist thanked me for being patient.
At work, we have a time during the weekly departmental meeting when we each have an opportunity to publicly acknowledge a co-worker who went above and beyond. After one session of this where few of the items was truly “above and beyond”, one of our managers said that while he appreciated all we did, he wasn’t going to thank people who were just doing what they were paid to do. I thought of that when the pharmacist thanked me. That was nice of her, but I remember a time when it was the norm, not the exception. It’s pretty sad when common decency is rare enough to be thanked.
I thought perhaps you’d enjoy this song by Glen Campbell on this very subject!