Remembering a kinder, gentler nation | Worship

By Aziz Junejo | Jan 18, 2017

I remember a kinder and gentler nation, where folks always gave up their seat for a woman (especially a pregnant woman), came to the aid of a lost child and never thought twice about checking on an elderly neighbor.

Today, I am worried. Leading up to and after the election of President-elect Donald Trump, I feel like our society is experiencing a kindness deficit, no longer seeing value in showing concern or being thoughtful to one another.

Performing acts of kindness is supposed to be a cornerstone of being human. Kindness is the God-given mercy and gentleness within each of our spirits, exhibited through acts of compassion toward others around us; it is not, for example, making fun of the disabled.

As a child, I was taught by my parents early-on to be willing to extend my hand to anyone who needed help, which I witnessed them do on countless occasions. That’s a quality I learned I could share any time, anywhere, with anyone, and it always felt good.

Back then, kindness was a defining part of the American character, it was how we shared the planet and it was a safer world then, too. The Peace Corps was just one example of how we imparted our expertise, prosperity and compassion with the rest of the world.

I remember traveling to foreign countries as a child. Our family always found a welcome mat as Americans. This country was known for its humanity and humility, but not so much today.

The prophet Muhammed said: “Verily God is kind and He loves kindness and confers kindness which he does not confer upon severity and does not confer upon anything else besides it (kindness).” (Muslim)

Performing acts of kindness can have a profound impact on the lives of everyone around us and help our mental, physical and spiritual growth.

How many times did you watch Oprah’s giveaway or an Extreme Makeover Home Edition when they were on television and your heart ruptured with happiness, perhaps even causing you to shed a few tears?

Whether you are the provider or beneficiary of kindness does not matter. It accomplishes the same benefit for both. Each receives a sense of contentment and gratitude that nourishes the soul and, yes, it always lasts longer than a few minutes.

Today’s world has no shortage of envy, selfishness, arrogance and indifference, so finding it within ourselves to commit random acts of kindness when the opportunities present themselves becomes imperative.

Kindness matters today more than ever and it shouldn’t be about recognition – it’s the genuine sharing of love, concern and your inner-self through acts that transcend all our differences.

These acts connect us and can have a domino effect, no matter our faith, culture or profession. We all know someone who could use a dose of kindness.

Once you commit yourself, these acts get easier, even becoming habitual. The more you simply smile, hold a door open or say thank you without expecting anything back, it becomes contagious.

Let us revive our instinct to commit random acts of kindness and witness the cascading affect it can have on the lives of dozens, or maybe hundreds, of other people.

It’s one of life’s richest blessings, so start with those nearest to you – family and friends, then neighbors and, ultimately, society.

A world without kindness is a world we wouldn’t want to live in.

Aziz Junejo has served as a representative of the local Muslim community for 30 years. He is the host of the cable TV show “Focus on Islam,” and frequently writes and speaks on Muslim topics.

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