Not long before I sat down to prepare for this article, I came across the movie trailer for the upcoming film about Mr. Rogers, host of the PBS kids’ show “Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood” popular in the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s. The movie stars Tom Hanks, one of my favorite actors. Can’t wait to see it!
Mr. Rogers was the epitome of kindness. His gentle voice, warm smile and kind eyes made so many children feel right at home in his neighborhood. Most often, as I have come to discover, the children who loved Mr. Rogers most were those who didn’t come from the best homes.
Many of his biggest fans, including myself, lived in poverty and brokenness and enjoyed the breath of fresh air that this loving man would bring through our televisions.
He would speak life into our hearts through these words he said on many episodes, “You have made this day a special day, by just your being you. There’s no person in the world like you. And I like you just the way you are.” Every child needs to hear those words. I know I needed it desperately.
It is well known that Fred Rogers was the same person on and off the set: genuine, compassionate, and kind. That’s why his show ran for thirty years and was an enormous success, and well-loved among people of all ages.
Mr. Rogers understood the profound brokenness of people and knew that the way to begin helping others to heal was through kindness.
Jesus knew it, too.
“Come to me all who are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”Matthew 11:28 ESV
During his time on earth, he often showed kindness to those who could give nothing in return. Come to think of it, isn’t that what true kindness is?
I read a quote once.
“If you’re helping someone and expecting something in return, you are doing business not kindness.”Author Unknown
The author is unknown, but the meaning is deep. True kindness comes from above. It is a fruit of the Spirit and can only be purely practiced by someone filled with the Spirit of God.
In the Bible we have read that Jesus was “moved with compassion” which resulted in him showing kindness to the desperate people who surrounded him. He never questioned whether the recipients were worthy of his help. Nor did he care that the religious people of the day scoffed at him for consorting with sinners.
If we’re kind to the people who are kind to us, we’re doing what comes natural to us. But, what about those who are unkind to us? The people who’ve caused us pain. The people who’ve ridiculed or rejected us? What about the people who drain us emotionally? Showing kindness doesn’t come so naturally, does it?
When God gave us the gift of his Holy Spirit, he supercharged us to be kind when our natural ability runs out. Supernaturally, God empowers his children to reach others with a kindness that can be found nowhere else.
We then can “love our neighbor” when we could just as easily turn our back on them. Christ surprised us often with his kindness. He had the ability to see beyond the exterior and move past the ugliness and selfishness and touch a life that needed touching.
God showed us great kindness:
“But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life.”Titus 3:4-7 ESV
We owe him so much! We were lost and broken, and we didn’t deserve what he did for us.
Now it’s our turn. And let’s show kindness, not because it makes us feel good, but because it’s our way of saying, “Thank you, Jesus”.
A Little More About Summer
Summer is a graduate of Biblical Studies/Youth Ministry/Evangelism at Word of Life Bible Institute. Upon graduating she served at an inner-city community church for ten years where she gained leadership experience in the areas of youth ministry, women’s discipleship, worship ministry and small group ministries.
In 2002, Summer moved to Guatemala City as a single missionary where she was part of a team that started a ministry to prostitutes in the heart of the city. She also worked with a local children’s ministry as a fundraiser.
Summer’s final three years as a missionary were spent coordinating coordination for North American short-term missions’ teams which served with Guatemalan-based ministries that worked with the most marginalized of society.
Now married, Summer still resides in Guatemala City with her husband and two children. She is a stay-at-home mom, a blogger and serves in worship ministry at her local church.