Most of us have probably heard the expression “just kill them with kindness,” but I don’t really like that expression, mainly because of the word “kill.” I think I would prefer it to be something like “just show people love, no matter what.”
It’s highly possible that I’m overthinking a small expression that’s probably simply supposed to mean killing the meanness until it becomes ineffective or causes mean people actually to be nice, but I like to spin it to make it more positive—I mean, if you’re going to claim to be kind, go all the way in.
I think genuine kindness isn’t shown as often as it should be, and the only people who can change that are people. If someone is trailing you on the way into a building, it doesn’t take much time (maybe two or three seconds) to hold the door so that it doesn’t slam in the individual’s face. I promise it won’t make you any later than you already are or any more on time than you were going to be. Two or three seconds don’t have that much impact on tardiness.
But they have heavy impact on how you can make others feel.
There are a tremendous amount of opportunities in every single minute of every single day to show people kindness. Yes, it does become more difficult when others are rude or downright evil toward you or someone you truly care about, but that doesn’t make it necessary for you to act the same way. This is when the whole “loving people no matter what” comes into play.
Don’t try to kill a person with kindness—try to love him or her with it, instead.
There have been instances in my life in which I’ve been treated badly, and I can’t say that I’ve always responded in the best ways possible. Let’s be real here, shall we? Being nice is really challenging at times. It’s much easier to throw every ounce of kindness you think you might have out the window and say what’s really on your mind.
What I’ve learned, though, is that when you let your heart be transformed by love, those mean thoughts won’t last very long, and you’ll realize that the mean things that people say to you often have nothing to do with you at all. The mistreatment that you receive is likely the result of someone else going through something trying and painful, and you just happen to be getting the brunt of it all. No, that doesn’t make it justifiable, but perhaps it might give you a bit more empathy to extend love and grace rather than fire back with quick-witted and spiteful remarks.
They might be great burns that seem pretty clever, but they could also do more damage to a person who’s already in need of more love than you’ll ever know.
I faced a recent situation that gave me enough time for a choice: I could say what I was thinking (which certainly didn’t have kindness written all over it), or I could show that person the same amount of grace and mercy that God shows me every single day. Thankfully, I chose the latter, and I didn’t say what was on my mind—I said what was on my heart, instead.
I walked away feeling better than I would have if I had said something on an equal level as the other person, and I can only hope that the other person did, as well. As Cady Heron said during her epic mathletes moment, “calling somebody else fat won’t make you any skinnier, calling someone stupid doesn’t make you any smarter, and ruining Regina George’s life didn’t make [Cady] any happier.”
It doesn’t make you weak or cowardly not to fire back insults at someone or be mean to someone who’s mean to you. It’s brave to show love when it’s easier to show hate. It’s brave to love someone who seems almost unlovable. It’s brave to let love take over your heart and do the talking for you.
So don’t worry about killing people with kindness—just love them, and the kindness will come naturally.