How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation, who say to Zion, "Your God reigns!"
More than eight hundred years ago, Francis of Assisi prayed, "Lord, make me an instrument of your peace; where there is hatred, let me sow love; where there is injury, pardon; where there is doubt, faith; where there is despair, hope; where there is darkness, light; where there is sadness, joy." Sometimes when we hear the latest tragic story of violence in the world, the idea of being instruments of peace can seem overwhelming. But small acts of kindness remind us that in the face of fear, injury, and hatred, good does exist.
Good exists in the hands of volunteers who help build houses after natural disasters, in the sacrifices of military personnel fighting for someone else's safety, and in the simple ways we choose to serve others at work, at home, and in the community.
As Francis concluded, "It is in giving that we receive, it is in pardoning that we are pardoned, and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life." Acting kindly means dying to our selfish desires so that the needs of others might be met. Selfdenial goes against everything the evening news suggests about human nature. But when we live out God's kindness in ordinary ways, even moments of despair can become opportunities for hope.
In a violent world, Father, remind me of the peace I can offer others through practicing simple kindness.
Dr. Gary Chapman is the beloved best-selling author of The Five Love Languages and Love as a Way of Life. For more information, click here.