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Words of Kindness

People around us are hungry for kindness; giving a word of kindness can and it eventually will make the difference in someone's life. What's more, the day you'll need that word yourself, it will return to you.
Medieval knights regarded kindness as one of their most supreme virtues. This quality is also highly esteemed in many religions and ideologies. It is part of the group of seven virtues opposing the seven deadly sins. The apostle Paul considers it an attribute of love, which is "patient and kind" (I Corinthians). References to kindness are also to be found in the Jewish Talmud which states that "deeds of kindness are equal in weight to all the commandments." Also in the Buddhist religion, loving kindness represents one of the so-called "paramitas" (the ten perfections). One of the Dalai Lamas' followers named Tenzin Gyatso, made the following assertion: "my religion is kindness". He also wrote a book on this topic-Kindness, Clarity, and Insight. The celebrated Confucius commanded his disciples to reward kindness with kindness.

According to Aristotle, kindness is an emotion manifesting itself by the desire to help somebody in need, without expecting anything in return, just for the sake of that person. A human act can be considered as kind, according to Aristotle, if it is special, has a particular greatness, or is done at a certain specific time and in a particular place.

Nicolae Steinhardt, the Romanian monk of Rohia, Maramures, wrote an essay on kind words. He describes the passion scene. Christ is on the cross, with the crown of thorns on His head, in agonizing pain, naked, full of dirt and sweat. His hands and legs are pierced and bleeding. He has been mocked at, laughed at, ridiculed beyond limits. People are making fun of Him, urging Him to get off the cross and prove His divine nature. Above all, all these happen in full daylight, under a hot burning sun. To make it even worse, all the "winning team" also pass by. There are two more crosses at His right and left sides, bearing two ordinary criminals, a fact which seems to increase Christ's shameful situation. The robber on the left tries to provoke Jesus, he mocks and insults Him. Yet, the robber on the right, on the contrary; although he is also in great suffering, craving for the releasing moment of death, he finds the power and patience to scold the other robber for addressing such rude words to an innocent man, and he also is able to manifest his kindness, altruism and noble heart by saying gentle, respectful words to Jesus. Although he cannot help him in any way, he cannot release him and get him off the cross, he cannot make it any easier on him, to shorten his agony. All he can do is bear with Him till the end. And what is Christ's answer? "I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise!" (Luke 23:43)

How come the Savior said such powerful, big words to a poor robber? Why did He show him such grace, when the other great prophets and spiritual giants like Moses, Isaiah, David were still on the "waiting list"? Why did He make the robber the enormous favor? Many may think it's because the robber suffered the same pain and shame as Jesus, but then again, so did the robber on the left. The reason Steinhardt gives for Christ's generosity is the fact that Dismas, the robber on the right, gave something that was miraculous, unnatural and divine at those exceedingly cruel moments - he said some words of kindness. Dimas succeeded to completely forget his own suffering, and look at his neighbor with gentleness, mercy, sympathy, true and pure affection. This attitude has redeemed him, making him worthy of paradise, of joining Christ in the after - life eternal bliss. Just a few words were enough. Like a healing potion. Just a few words of respect, love, words meant to defend Jesus, to take his side, trustful words that managed to turn that sinister place, full of evil, malice, shrewdness, into an anteroom of paradise.

That is why we should not hesitate to tell others such words of kindness whenever we have the opportunity. They are far more valuable than gold, silver, money or any other material thing.
By Claudia Miclaus
Bouquets and Brickbats