My husband, Dave, and I rented a movie, The Green Book (PG-13). The story takes place in the early 1960’s when segregation is still evident and Jim Crow laws are enforced in the South. The main characters are an Italian American bouncer, Frank “Tony Lip” Vallelonga, from New York, who is a chauffeur and body guard for an African American professional piano player, Dr. Don Shirley.
As you can guess there is conflict (every good story has it!) as they travel through the Midwest and then into the South. They are on a time schedule to make it back to New York by Christmas. As the movie ended, Dave asked my why i was crying. There was two reasons –1) I liked the ending ( I am not telling how it ends!) and 2) I was saddened to see how Dr. Shirley was treated. He was a very gifted piano player and crowds loved his music and him as a performer. However, when he wasn’t on stage, he was treated unkindly and according to the color of his skin. They couldn’t change their rules and treat him with some basic human kindness.
Treat others with kindness
Even though this movie is about a true story from the 1960’s, there is still unkindness about rights and how we treat others today. Our society has become so self-absorbed and thinking about their ‘own’ rights, that they forget there is actually another person, who has another side of the story, who has rights and could be hurting, too. God must be so sad to see how we treat one another today!
During Jesus’ day, he wept over Jerusalem (Lk 19:41). He saw a city, full of people, who did not understand that He was the Messiah. He also told them about the prophecy to come (Lk 19:42-44), the destruction of the city (in 70 AD). Jesus not only loved the people of the city, but the city itself. His heart was full of compassion for everyone in the city. He had just completed his Triumphal Entry and was days away from His pending death on the Cross.
You see– God wants us to treat others differently than what is our normal human inclination. He wants us to treat family, co-workers, neighbors and even strangers with kindness. In Ephesians 4:32, Paul writes, Be kind to one another and forgiving as Christ forgave you. Because Jesus forgave us, we are commanded to be kind.
Besides being a command, kindness benefits you but cruelty to others does not. Proverbs 11:17 says, A man who is kind benefits himself, but a cruel man hurts himself. When we choose to be unkind to others, we are also hurting ourself. God has a reason behind being kind to others, not to mention that it is one of the Fruits of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22-23). I love how Paul ends that verse– against such things, there is no law. We can be kind and there isn’t a law against it!
Try walking in the shoes of the other person to understand their story. Actually listen to them. They may have a compelling story that explains why they act or say the things they do and you may be filled with compassion for them.
And then do what God’s Word says, Be Kind.