“Have courage and be kind” has been the quote on my lockscreen for a while now. I initially thought that it was a random saying, but I realized five seconds ago that it was said by Cinderella in the new Cinderella movie. I’ll confess that I haven’t seen the movie, but I love the quote regardless. I’ve almost changed my wallpaper a few times since it’s been there, but every time I stop myself by remembering how much I need the reminder to be kind and have courage on an hourly basis.
Have courage. Courage is admittedly something I lack. I have an anxious, self-conscious and shy personality. My confidence in myself, my words, my thoughts and my decisions is low. This directly affects my courage to do anything from speaking up in class discussion and starting conversations with new people to going somewhere or doing something I’ve never done before. My courage to step out of my comfort zone is something I’m consistently working to improve and consistently something I beat myself up over for not being courageous enough. It’s something that those closest to me push me to do better at, and I’m glad they do because I desire to be bold. To be bold in sharing my faith, telling others about my passions and standing firm in my beliefs are things I long for.
“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9
Be kind. I struggle slightly less with kindness, but I’m not immune to hateful thoughts and angry outbursts. Being kind to everyone including those you disagree with and those who hurt you is hard, but it’s something I’m passionate about doing. In a world full of hatred, social media full of negativity, and a society full of horrific acts, being kind is a rarity. The thing is I, we, can have kind hearts. We do have kind hearts, but when we don’t act upon that kindness, that’s when we don’t succeed. I’ll be the first to fess up to the fact that I don’t act upon kindness very often, and I should.
“Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.” Ephesians 4:32
You may not think that courageousness and kindness are the most complementary traits. Because when you are courageous for your own benefit, the last thing you are is kind to others. You’re only kind to yourself. Selfish courage can lead to name calling, violence and greed. All things I think we can collectively agree are inherently bad things.
But in my experience if you use courage for the benefit of others, it can be an amazing thing. We have to have courage to truly act upon our kindness. If we don’t have courage, we won’t pay for the person’s food behind us in line. If we don’t have courage, we won’t go across the world to help those in need, we won’t help the homeless people down the street. To have courage and use that courage for others is kindness.
I’ve been particularly convicted lately about not acting upon kindness to produce justice. I long for justice and equality for everyone, and I can talk about it all day long. But if I don’t act, what have I done? I’ve potentially informed you about something you don’t know about, which is something I am passionate about, but have I really contributed with my own hands? How can I really make a difference if I don’t take action? The answer is I can’t. The last question on my Holocaust final was “How will you help bring liberty and justice for all?” One of the things I wrote was that I didn’t want to be a bystander which is exactly what I have been doing for 21 years. It’s time to change that.
Jesus was the ultimate example of selfless courage and bold kindness. He loved and showed kindness to the despicable, the hard to love. And He didn’t do it without action. He physically healed and provided for the ones He encountered. And He did it all with courage. He showed the most courageous act of kindness that’s ever occurred by taking on our sins and dying as a sacrifice to save our souls. That’s something I don’t know if I’d ever be kind or courageous enough to do. Thank goodness, I am not God. Thank God that He is so brave and so loving.
The realization that Jesus is the ultimate example and God is the ultimate giver of kindness and courageousness is magnificent. Not only do we have someone to look to for guidance on how to show courage and kindness, but we have someone to give us courage and kindness. We cannot produce the amounts of those qualities needed to be like Jesus on our own. We can only do it with Him.
I pray that God will give us more courage to be kinder.