One small act of kindness (first published in the Sol Times 11th October - 18th October)
Well the Soltimes certainly aired the key harvest issues of generosity and gratitude earlier this month! As I turned from reading my item about gratitude on page 13 to the following page, I was confronted by that brilliant article entitled “One small act of kindness” on the joy of giving, of the generosity and kindness of a Police Officer in dealing with a woman in distress. Thank you Sandy for that – it did, as you suggested, help us recognise the potential for good within us humans and perhaps encouraged us to be more generous to others as well as grateful for all we have.
For true gratitude should naturally lead to personal generosity, not just on financial matters, but in all aspects of life. So Jesus told a dramatic story about a servant who’d managed to accrue a massive debt to his boss, who happened to be the local King. Summoned to explain himself and repay this debt, worth around a million pounds in today’s values, the workman begged for mercy, giving a sob-story of family health and other domestic issues, and to his utter relief the King, moved by his situation, generously wrote off the debt. But instead of showing real gratitude by being equally generous to his colleagues, this man celebrated by demanding instant repayment from one who owed him a mere trifle of perhaps twenty pounds, and when unable to pay, threw him into prison. Not surprisingly, on hearing of this, the King was furious, voicing quite forcefully his expectation that the one he’d forgiven should in like manner forgive others their debts.
And it was with this principle in mind that Jesus, in his well known prayer employed the phrase “forgive us our failings as we forgive those who fail us.” For like the King’s servant we’ve all run up massive debts of failure before God, who is so generous in his willingness to forgive. Yet we so often are unforgiving and resentful of others who have hurt us, completely forgetting how much God has forgiven us.
So let’s show true gratitude, demonstrated by a really generous spirit, generous in our giving to others and in our forgiving of the comparatively trivial hurts they may have caused us.