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09
Adventures In Kindness
August 9, 2016

In a world where self-indulgence and self-gratification is a priority acts it may seem like an adventure to oppose the flow with acts of compassion that become conspicuously different.  As an introvert, I actually do enjoy engaging people on my walk to work.  I grew up on a farm and it was polite and well-mannered to acknowledge those one met along the road.  After we moved to the city, I kept up my “country courtesy” but was met with mixed reactions.  Some could not concede they had been addressed.  Some glanced my way as if to say, “How dare you cross the invisible boundary!” then looked away.  Many were not only pleasantly startled but returned the greeting and have continued to do so on many subsequent encounters.

The fruit of kindness that the Holy Spirit develops as an attribute of believers is expressed in adventurous acts of kindness and validation of others.  Kindness is a character trait of consideration that breaks out in spontaneous acts of love toward those in need.  Paul wrote in his letter to the Colossians, “Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.” (Colossians 3:12)

On a scale of 1-10 with one being devoid of all compassion and 10 being ridiculous in acts of love, where would you rate your kindness?  How would your friends rate you?  Develop the fruit of kindness by connecting with God through reading God’s word, prayer and getting together with other believers.  Look for people in need then seize the moment as soon as you spot someone who is in need of kindness, a smile, an encouraging word.  It may feel awkward at first but the awkwardness will pass quickly when you see how much you have blessed someone. 

In 2012, on a cold November night in Times Square, Officer Lawrence DePrimo was working a counterterrorism post when he encountered an older, barefooted homeless man. The police officer, who was normally assigned to different section of New York City, said, "I looked over and someone was laughing at this elderly [homeless] gentleman who had no socks (and) no shoes. You could see the blisters from a distance. I had two pairs of socks and I was still cold."

So, he asked the man if he had anything to cover his feet. "It's okay, Sir, I've never had a pair of shoes," the homeless man replied. "But God bless you." As the homeless man strolled away, DePrimo caught up to him and asked him his shoe size before walking into a Skechers on W. 42nd St. DiPrimo told a worker, "I'd like to buy a pair of boots, something that will last a while. I don't care what the price is." A few minutes later, the kindhearted cop bought a $100 pair of all-weather boots, size 12. A store manager later said, "We were just kind of shocked. Most of us are New Yorkers and we just kind of pass by that kind of thing. Especially in this neighborhood."

The act of kindness would have gone unnoticed and mostly forgotten, had it not been for Jennifer Foster, a tourist from Arizona. Foster said, "The officer expected NOTHING in return and did not know I was watching." Her snapshot—taken with her cellphone and posted to the New York Police Department's official Facebook page—made Officer DePrimo an overnight Internet hero. As of June, 2014, the post had attracted over 600,000 "likes" and more than 48,000 comments—a runaway hit for the NYPD. Many comments have pointed to how this simple act of kindness has "restored my faith in humanity."[1]

pj



[1] David Goodman, "Photo of Officer Giving Boots to Barefoot Man Warms Hearts Online," The New York Times (11-28-12); Amanda Mickelberg, "NYPD Officer Larry DePrimo immortalized in tourist's photo ..." New York Post (12-18-12)

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