Perhaps one of the greatest lessons Jesus Christ taught is about love. In Matthew 22:36-39, he was questioned by a lawyer about which of the commandments was the most important. Christ answered, “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.”
Loving your neighbor is often accomplished by simple kindness. Your “neighbor” includes family, friends, acquaintances, and anyone you may come in contact with. In short, it’s everyone. Extending kindness to your fellow man is an act that you will never regret.
Kindness is often shown through service
Author and religious leader Thomas Monson recently stated, “Usually our love will be shown in our day-to-day interactions one with another. All important will be our ability to recognize someone’s need and then to respond.” By observing others and acting when they may need help, we are extending kindness and love. It may be a kind word, a gentle touch, help with a toddler, a smile in the checkout line at the store or a talk with a heartbroken friend. These are simple, yet effective, ways to show kindness on a daily basis.
Kindness should be the norm and not a rarity in families
Whatever the reason, it seems that those we ought to love the most see our worst behavior. “Love should be the very heart of family life, and yet sometimes it is not. There can be too much impatience, too much arguing, too many fights, too many tears…. If we would keep the commandment to love one another, we must treat each other with kindness and respect,” said Monson. If we want peace and harmony to abound in the home, we must cultivate an environment free from contention and other negativity. Follow the golden rule of “treat others how you want to be treated” — with kindness.
Be sympathetic to the feelings of others
When we interact with those around us, we must be careful not to criticize, demean, belittle or otherwise hurt another person. This will not only bring regret but will also have a lasting negative effect on the relationship. Be constructive when correction is needed. Speak with love and kindness. Uplift rather than put-down. There is so much negativity in the world already without adding our unkind words and actions. Consider how the other person may feel after being on the receiving end of your actions. Always seek to make others feel better and happier after being around you.
Sticks and stones may break bones, but words can last forever
Regardless of the nature of spoken words, they have the power to stick with the receiver of the statement forever. Often, those words are painful. Author Dale Carnegie stated that each person has the “power to increase the sum total of [the] world’s happiness… by giving a few words of sincere appreciation to someone who is lonely or discouraged. Perhaps you will forget tomorrow the kind words you say today, but the recipient may cherish them over a lifetime.” Many regret hurting someone, but there is no regrets when you uplift and inspire another person.
As we follow the admonition of Jesus Christ to love our neighbors, we can spread kindness throughout the world. Speak kindly to one another. Find ways to show love through service and small deeds. You will not only live with no regrets, but you will have made the world better by lifting someone else’s spirit.