the magic of being nice
There is an opinion piece on the CNN Belief Blog titled “My Take: A Word to Christians, Be Nice” that is, unsurprisingly, one Christian exhorting his fellows to adjust their attitude, to stop speaking out in anger and hatred.
Also unsurprisingly, there are hundreds of comments from Christians and Atheists alike that aren’t nice at all. It’s like a great big lesson on completely missing the point.
There is a truth about being nice I think many people miss. Do it long enough, it changes you.
There is a certain kind of sympathetic magic happening there. When I least want to be nice, when I am angry and hurting, especially when that hurt has been caused by people in my life, when I most want to lash out in anger and fear, if I take a deep breath and speak kindly, if I make an effort to perform some small act of service, I find my own anger and hurt and fear begin to bleed away.
But it works the other way too. When someone is lashing out in anger and hurt and fear and we act with kindness toward them, if we speak from a place of love, of kindness, if we offer our other cheek (to borrow Christian wording) for the slapping blow of their fear and still do not turn away, we can see a change begin in them as well.
Consider that when your heart burns with anger, when your lips itch to scream out your hurt with obscenities or rail against the one you feel wronged you.
Consider that when you are next faced with someone who is hurling invective at you and anyone near them.
It is magic of the little things. And it has the power to change the world.