An anagnorisis moment is an instant discovery. A peripeteian action is a sudden turning or reversal.
Let the dawning of this new year be such a time for you, a time of discovery causing a reversal of a particular character trait.
Consider kindness. If it is not indicative of you, let this be an anagnorisis moment followed by a peripeteian action of it hereafter characterizing you.
Resolve to show more kindness to more people more often.
Kindness is an intangible. Tell-tales of it are such actions as:
Showing patience is indeed a deed showing kindness. Many people feel hurried, harried and harassed. A simple show of patience can relieve stress. Be especially patient in traffic. A show of patience by parents can be extremely encouraging to children.
Thoughtful expressions of appreciation are meaningful manifestations of kindness.
Thank people for little things especially those serving in roles that often go unnoticed. Think how many go through the day without ever being shown an act of kindness.
Let your home be a house of gratitude where appreciation is shown and expressed. If you are fortunate to have a family at home, talk it over and together form a kindness agreement.
Sympathy is an altruistic act to strengthen the weak and comfort the sorrowing. It helps a person not to feel alone in their despair. Sympathy is often best expressed not by words, but by being. Just being with and available to a person shows great concern.
To better understand kindness think of it in terms of being giving, forgive, thoughtful, courteous, helpful, merciful, healing, considerate, generous, willingness to be second, understanding, and unselfish. Such are acts of kindness.
Would you like a challenge? Be kind to those who are unkind to you. Do it without expecting a positive response. When you don’t get a positive response keep on showing it. It is the new you.
Be kind to those unlike you and those who dislike like you.
Being kind does not mean never taking a stand or expressing reasonable disapproval of an act or statement. It means doing it with grace and consideration for the other person.
Being gracious to opponents is an act of kindness.
Don’t compromise your convictions. Do, however, make them more palatable by the manner and tone with which they are expressed.
A tactful way of doing so is the feel, felt, found formula. “I know how you feel, I felt that way, until I found (state your new resolve).”
One said of a person very adept at this: He could tell me to go to Hell and I would thank him.
Manifesting and maintaining a positive outlook in all of life is kindness on steroids. It is a kind way of elevating the spirit of all around you.
If you are a person of faith, the kindest thing you can do is live and express your faith in such a way that it becomes viral and people catch it. By expression and example share the consolations of a strong faith.
Unexpected and undeserved acts of kindness can break down barriers, overcome obstacles, and soften hard hearts.
Roman philosopher Seneca said, “Dripping hollows rock.” Even so persistent kindness softens rock-hard hearts.
Make this an anagnorisis moment followed by a peripetian act.
The result: a happier new year.
The Rev. Dr. Nelson Price is pastor emeritus of Roswell Street Baptist Church.