While I know my dad didn’t actually come up with this quote, it was probably someone famous, he is the first person I ever heard say it and he often reminded me to “kill them with kindness” many time when I was on the verge of losing my temper.
I think back to a story I’ve heard of my dad when he played football. It’s a short little story and I’m a little fuzzy on the little details, and I’m sure my siblings could (and will) correct me on what I get wrong, but I think the overall point is what is important.
So my dad was a freshman (I don’t know if it was high school or college) and there was an upperclassman, who for whatever reason really did not like my dad—and he made that clear. Every day he would dish out something on dad. Now, my dad was a big guy…he probably could have stood up for himself–but he chose a different way. Everyday instead of responding aggressively, my dad would give the kid a big “Hey, how ya doin” with a cheeky grin on his face. It probably took awhile, but eventually this guy couldn’t continue to hate my dad, because he gave him nothing to hate. My dad killed the problem with kindness.
I’m going to go change course a little bit right now, but I think it still kind of fits. For the past couple weeks, Pope Francis (who is pretty amazing, by the by) has been urging the world to seek peaceful negotiations instead of fall into war. On twitter, you will see his endless cries for peace. Here are just a few examples (if you go to his Twitter handle, you will see many more):
Let us pray for peace: peace in the world and in each of our hearts.
How much suffering, how much devastation, how much pain has the use of arms carried in its wake.
Peace is a good which overcomes every barrier, because it belongs all of humanity#prayforpeace
Ok, so the Pope is not holding back on speaking out against how devastating war is, and how important it is to find a peaceful solution.
Now, I understand there are political aspects of every war, and it does not always seem possible to “love your enemy as yourself” when dealing with these issues; however, as Christians, we must do everything we can so fulfill that commandment, even if it seems like the most impossible act to accomplish.
So there is my spiel on the, potential, upcoming war America is entering in Syria. I’m against it. I stand by the Holy Father in urging everyone to pray for peace and finding an alternative way to help all the suffering people in the Middle East—because I do not believe this war will solve anything, and I strongly believe it could cause many other problems.
Ok, back to the “kill them with kindness” quote. The reason I brought up the Pope’s tweets is because when I see them, I immediately think of the Middle East, but I neglect to think of peace in my own life. The Pope is not only talking about the Middle East—he is talking about every single one of us. If we don’t have beauty, peace and kindness in our own lives, how can we expect others to have it in theirs?
How many petty fights and arguments do we have on a daily bases that are completely unnecessary? Not only that, but how many grudges do we continue to hang onto just because the anger fuels us with a certain type of fire that makes us feel powerful? Now, how many of those fights, arguments, battles, etc. could have been avoided if instead of hostility and aggression, we used kindness? Probably a good majority of them.
We can pray for peace in the Middle East forever and it may never come, but we can help restore peace in the world on our own end, by striving to create peace in our own lives and hearts, which in turn will help bring peace to all those around us–think of the chain of events we could start.
Having peace, I think, is one of the most difficult things to accomplish. But the only way we will actually achieve it is if we take anything that are keeping us from peace and we kill it with kindness. Our grudges, fights, built up anger; we have to choose the Christian path Pope Francis is calling us (yes, he is calling all Christians to do this–not just Catholics) to and bring peace back into the world, and in order to do that, we all need a little Sean Maher kindness.