Kinds Words Matter . . . But Can You Do More?

random-acts-of-kindness-mbgI was scanning my facebook page this morning and discovered that today — January 24th, 2013 — is National Compliment Day. Intrigued, I did a little research and found out National Compliment Day was started by Debby Hoffman and Kathy Chamberlin to remind people that, “compliments provide a quick and easy way to connect positively with those you come in contact with.” Seems simple enough, and logical enough. Frankly, the more I thought about it, the more the idea saddened me. Why?  Simply put, I live in a nation and at a time when we actually have to set aside a day to remind ourselves to reach out to others, connect with them, and compliment them.

Sit down tonight and watch the first 10 minutes of the evening news tonight or any night. How many stories of hope and love do you see? How many positives are out there? One local station has spent more than a year developing a weekly segment called “Pay It Forward” which celebrates these positive interactions in our community . . . but at best, those segments are a mere five minutes of an hour-long newscast. Face it, we live in a society which encourages us to care more about ourselves on a daily basis than about those around us. We live in a world of “me-ists” and nothing good can come from that frame of mind!

What are we called to do? How are we called to live in relation to others? Here are just a few quotes:

As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace: whoever speaks, as one who speaks oracles of God; whoever serves, as one who serves by the strength that God supplies—in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ.   1 Peter 4:10-11 ESV

So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.  Philippians 2:1-11 ESV

Give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you.  Luke 6:38 ESV

In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.  Matthew 5:16 ESV

Please don’t misunderstand my point — I understand why Ms Hoffman and Ms Chamberlin felt compelled to create the holiday.  I can relate to their feeling that the world needs more kindness, more compliments, and more joy.  My purpose is to admonish each of us to rise to this calling (and so much more) each and every day we are alive.  To celebrate the gifts and talents we have been given and to use them — not to let them sit on a shelf and gather dust.  Wake up each morning with thankfulness and embrace your day.  Reach out to others in love and serve them.

Catholic Charities would love to have you share those gifts and talents with our clients — and we encourage you to call us and get involved.  No matter how you choose to do so, however, we simply want you to take action, reach out with the love of Christ and help someone in need.  Let your light shine, and live each day to its fullest.  Complimenting others may be one step in that journey, but each day, each kind word, and each action are a choice and a meaningful way to change the world.

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