Be Kinder than Necessary

“Be kinder than necessary for everyone you meet is fighting some kind of battle.”
T.H. Thompson & John Watson

I came across this quote recently and I’ve been unable to get it out of my head.

I’ve felt its truth in my own life. I sometimes fool myself into thinking that as soon as I can handle this conflict or challenge or battle then life will be easier. I called that “checkpoint living” in a previous post. That kind of thinking is a lie. As soon as one battle is settled, another – often fiercer one – is waiting in the wings to take its place. This side of Heaven, we will struggle. Life will not be perfect. There will be grief.

And the same is true for everyone else.

That’s what I love about the quote. We can all agree that our lives are difficult and filled with both inner turmoil and outer struggles. We can become consumed with our own battles, never realizing the angst in others’ lives. The point of this quote is to get outside of yourself, to overcome your battle by fighting self-centeredness and choosing to love one-another rather than become consumed by your own frays.

A friend of my parents lost her four year old little girl in a car accident several years ago. I remember her relating a story from that time in her life. Just a few short days after her daughter passed away, she attempted to hide her tears and her grief long enough to go to the mall and buy something to wear for the funeral. She drove to the mall, parked, entered the store, shopped, tried on dresses and checked price tags. She went through the motions to fulfill this practical need, but felt robotic, detached, numb as she checked off the details on her to do list. She smiled at the clerk as she made her purchase, all the while screaming on the inside with the pain and freshness of her loss. The clerk smiled back, made small talk, commented on the fabric of her dress and the sale happening next week. The grieving mother was just seconds from losing her cool, collected facade. She could barely handle the idleness of such talk with the raw emotions raging her heart.

As she left the store, a thought struck her. She began to walk through the mall – looking at all the smiling faces and wondered, “Who else is suffering?” How many people were veiling their grief with a protective smile just like she was? How many people had experienced tragedy and were just trying to get through the day? She concluded that she would assume that everyone was mourning, grieving, or hurting somehow and that would influence how she interacted with them.

Yes, it’s true that you have battles. Fight for joy! But don’t stop there! Let’s fight alongside each other with kindness and love. “Be kinder than necessary, for everyone is fighting some kind of battle.”

3 comments / Add your comment below

  1. So true! it’s been so easy for me to get offended at ‘small talk’ people make while I’m hurting so much inside… but also realizing that SO many other people are walking around carrying a heavy burden as well!!

  2. I just got a call last night that one of the ladies in my class who has Macular degeneration and very little vision, said her husband just had a stroke. I was nearly at a loss for words since this man is her lifeline. She cannot drive because she cannot see. I asked her if she had any help where she lives. She
    was upbeat and holding on to God’s hand, not self pitying. What a lesson for us all. This morning I read from 2 Samuel 22:31 “As for God, His way is perfect; the word of the Lord is flawless. He is a shield for all who take refuge in Him.” Yes everyone is in a battle as long as we are on earth, but God is stronger than any of our battles!

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