More random thoughts from my brain that may mean something to you.
There’s a difference between being nice and being kind. They are not the same. Niceness has to do with telling others what you think they want to hear. It’s a vehicle for social context and it rarely, if ever, rocks the boat. God has called us to something else: kindness. Kindness is honest and originates from a heart deeply invested in the well-being of another. Kindness has many faces – it can provide shelter for the homeless or it can confront the addict. Both are done out of a spirit of love (I Cor. 13:4; Eph. 4:32). Being nice is often concerned with making people like us. But some of the greatest moments of kindness will be met with violent reaction. Kindness involves sacrifice and risk…of resources, reputation, or time. It can make people uncomfortable…because kindness thinks outside the box on occasion to meet the needs of others. Kindness serves the deeper purpose of loving others. And it reflects the heart of God.
Pathological optimism is a good thing. I heard the term “pathological optimist” from an interview with Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales. I liked it. It represents someone who isn’t afraid of thinking on the bright side…constantly. Of believing that any one person can change their environment for the better. We can all do that. And we can all choose to be unafraid of the unknowns. Anyone can tell you the reasons why a good idea might not work. Where’s the originality in that? That idea you have swimming around in the back of your brain? You should act on it. You’re capable. You don’t have to be neurotic to believe the best about others and about your own abilities (Phil. 2:3-4). You don’t have to be neurotic to believe that you’re the focus of God’s intense and personal love. It’s already true. If believing the truth in a sea of bet-hedging, risk assessing, conventionalists is pathological, then come join me in the asylum.
In the end, all we have is our integrity. Integrity is the place where your actions match your beliefs. You may not have the same beliefs as me, but we can all be authentic enough to let those beliefs inform our actions. AG and CG were in a musical this Summer. But AG is only five…and several times it showed. I had never seen a child pick their nose onstage until mine did. What AG thought was a personal moment was out there for everyone to see. Same with all of us. People can see what we are doing – they see how we live and the choices we make. That’s not a reason to live for others. But it is a reason to know that what we do matters. Clinging to your integrity may not even translate well in the public eye. Sometimes doing what’s right can hurt a little (Psalm 15:4). In the end, the only thing you’re buried with is your integrity.