Recently on a social media site, I viewed a social experiment video created by a high school student named Shea Glover. As she recorded, she would approach people and tell them that she was taking pictures of things she found beautiful. The reactions of people impacted me in both a positive and negative way. Most of the people in the video reacted with a thankful response, giggled or simply smiled widely. It was a bright spot in their day. Some stood awkwardly not sure of how to react to such a statement and others choked up. One got angry, feeling she was being mocked. It made me sad for those who did not know how to react or were upset. To me, it meant they did not hear enough kind things from those around them.
Using kind words can mean saying anything from a simple please and thank you to really making someone’s day.
How do you react when someone says something kind to you? Sometimes we may react well to those we see on a regular basis and feel close to, but what about when someone we do not knows compliments us? Our clothing, our hairstyle or our conduct? Sometimes we are taken aback by others and/or awaiting what comes after the compliment. The sales pitch, the beg for something, etc. Unfortunately, we live in a world where people often only compliment us if they want something from us or intend to deceive us (Psalms 12:2 Psalms 12:2They speak vanity every one with his neighbor: with flattering lips and with a double heart do they speak.
American King James Version×).
Do we tell our friends when they look nice or do something above and beyond? Sometimes we do, but most often we say nothing. We do not want to constantly be flattering others, but a kind word can really change a person’s day. I have a friend who says something nice every time I see her. I do not always believe she is being genuine in what she says, but I know her intentions are sincere. Yes, it would be more palpable if her compliments were said less often but were more heartfelt, but I also understand why she does it. Our friendship is dear to her, and she wants me to feel good about it. Either way, it has strengthened our relationship.
How about with our spouses or the people we date? Often, we neglect them most of all. Why? Because we begin to take those closest to us for granted. We imagine they know we love them because we are together. The truth is most women I speak to do not feel as loved as they should. I do not speak to too many men about their relationships, but I believe it happens just about as much with them. This was also shown in the video I spoke of; the males were just as intimidated by the compliment. People appreciate small verbal pleasantries. Sometimes it’s a simple comment on how she looks or an “Atta boy!” when he does something out of the ordinary. It may be as simple as saying the often neglected “I love you” to our parents, friends, or significant other.
The Bible speaks of the virtuous woman in Proverbs 31:10-31 Proverbs 31:10-31 10 Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies.
11 The heart of her husband does safely trust in her, so that he shall have no need of spoil.
12 She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life.
13 She seeks wool, and flax, and works willingly with her hands.
14 She is like the merchants’ ships; she brings her food from afar.
15 She rises also while it is yet night, and gives meat to her household, and a portion to her maidens.
16 She considers a field, and buys it: with the fruit of her hands she plants a vineyard.
17 She girds her loins with strength, and strengthens her arms.
18 She perceives that her merchandise is good: her candle goes not out by night.
19 She lays her hands to the spindle, and her hands hold the distaff.
20 She stretches out her hand to the poor; yes, she reaches forth her hands to the needy.
21 She is not afraid of the snow for her household: for all her household are clothed with scarlet.
22 She makes herself coverings of tapestry; her clothing is silk and purple.
23 Her husband is known in the gates, when he sits among the elders of the land.
24 She makes fine linen, and sells it; and delivers girdles to the merchant.
25 Strength and honor are her clothing; and she shall rejoice in time to come.
26 She opens her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness.
27 She looks well to the ways of her household, and eats not the bread of idleness.
28 Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her.
29 Many daughters have done virtuously, but you excel them all.
30 Favor is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that fears the LORD, she shall be praised.
31 Give her of the fruit of her hands; and let her own works praise her in the gates.
American King James Version×. It says she is praised by her husband and her children, but I am sure the poor who she served also praised her. Verse 26 says, “She opens her mouth with wisdom, and on her tongue is the law of kindness” (Proverbs 31:26 Proverbs 31:26She opens her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness.
American King James Version×). Not only is she praised, she is most certainly praising others through her kindness.
Psalms 112:5 Psalms 112:5A good man shows favor, and lends: he will guide his affairs with discretion.
American King James Version×states, “A good man deals graciously and lends; He will guide his affairs with discretion.” If a man uses discretion and is gracious he is not a man to use false flattery. Instead he would be a man who is thankful and would express it openly with others. Who would you rather deal with, a man who speaks evil or good? (Matthew 12:35 Matthew 12:35A good man out of the good treasure of the heart brings forth good things: and an evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth evil things.
American King James Version×). We are also told that a harsh answer stirs up anger, and a soft one turns away wrath (Proverbs 15:1 Proverbs 15:1A soft answer turns away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger.
American King James Version×). Kind words can be used even against a possible enemy. Many a victim has turned what could have been a terrible situation around just by being soft-spoken and kind to their would-be attacker. I have experienced this for myself.
Using kind words can mean saying anything from a simple please and thank you to really making someone’s day. I have tried to incorporate this into my own life. If someone does something that impacts me, I try to make a point of letting them know it. If I think someone is especially beautiful with their new hairstyle or dress I tell them so.
The most difficult compliment often is the one that hits close to home. We often do not like to say something nice about someone who may do something better than us, or compliment someone who does something well in the field or “thing” we like to do. For instance, I have a friend who is in the choir and is a very beautiful singer. She could be very pompous about that, but instead, she is very complimentary to others when they sing well. She also is first to tell someone they have a beautiful voice. It’s a small thing, but it can really make someone’s day to hear it from someone who sings so beautifully.
The point is, kind words can be healing to people. And a lack of kind words can create very sad, frustrated and angry people. We see this occur on social media every day. Someone comments on a post, and the next person replies in a very hurtful way. These verbal attacks have also transferred into everyday conversation. I once walked into a room and had someone stand within inches of my face literally screaming at me because they disagreed with me. I was astounded. They had previously heard unkind words about me from someone else. In this case, I did not have to say anything to hear unkind words. I replied softly and kindly and the situation eventually quieted down, but the relationship with that person died that day (Proverbs 22:24-25 Proverbs 22:24-25 24 Make no friendship with an angry man; and with a furious man you shall not go:
25 Lest you learn his ways, and get a snare to your soul.
American King James Version×). We can build up or crush our relationships with others using only words.
As a Christian, I am a proponent of speaking to each other positively, but I believe it is also very important to encourage others. Not in a vain way or to promote ourselves, but to let people know we truly care about them and to tell them about how they have made us better. By doing this we may also engender the same kindness in them. We have probably all seen the TV ad that shows someone showing a kindness to someone else, who then goes on to do a kindness for someone else and so it goes from person to person. Taking a moment to say something kind takes nothing from us but can give someone else a reason to smile and have a better day.