There seems to be little civility left in society today and a lot of antagonistic behavior that has nothing to do with caring for others, and it usually inspires ridicule and then violence. The cares and concerns of others are of no consequence in this “me only” world.
It’s hard for some of us to imagine how decency and morality is completely ignored in some circles, and something akin to ethics is a subjective ideology that is used to further personal agendas and is indeed a perverted form of the real thing.
Our upbringing has a lot to do with that, or a life-experience has taught us some deeper truths about life on this planet as a human being; sometimes both.
One thing is for sure: We’re all in this together.
There’s a “book of wisdom” I try to read often; it’s a collection of books and includes history and poetry, and letters, and offers a lot of insight, and indeed a better way, to living on this Earth. One book is called Colossians, actually a letter (one of several), written by a man named Paul, who himself had a life changing experience.
Paul says to those he was writing to “Walk in wisdom toward them that are without, redeeming the time.” Another translation (the letter was written in Greek) says “Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity.”
Every son who becomes a father and every father who was a son will tell you they wish they had spent more time with their father or son. They wish they had redeemed the time.
We do it with a lot of things we “love.” Hobbies, sports, reading, writing, watching TV or movies, listening to music, traveling, etc., etc. We spend a lot of time doing it.
There is no better time redeemed than time spent with people you care about and who care about you. But there is also time redeemed (opportunities) with strangers that is never wasted.
Often it takes so little; a smile, holding a door open, sharing your umbrella, little things. It’s called “being nice.” It happens so little these days, yet the reward can be long-lasting.
Another book in this collection of books is called Hebrews. Therein it says “Don’t forget to show hospitality to strangers because some people by doing so have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it.”
Whether or not you believe in angels isn’t the point: We should treat strangers the way we want to be treated, with respect and kindness. Not for any expected reward, but because it’s the right thing to do.
The story goes that a man walked into a luxury car dealership, and he was dressed in faded blue jeans and a t-shirt. The sales people ignored him; they “could tell” by the way he was dressed he wasn’t going to buy a car, used or new. After a several minutes of being ignored, the man went across the street to a competitor.
There a salesman met him as soon as he walked in, greeted him warmly and struck up a conversation. As it turned out, that man was the CEO of a large limousine company, and purchased several new luxury cars for his fleet!
Redeem the time. Take every opportunity.
(By the way–that “book of wisdom”– the collection of books and letters– is called the Bible. Try the New International Version.)