If you have been reading my blog over the last year you know that I am not one to use this blog to promote movies, music, or other forms of entertainment. The last month my family and I have been going through a study on kindness. And my children brought up a great example of how important kindness is, based upon a movie that they had watched. The movie was Evan Almighty.
Now, I know that not everyone likes the “Almighty” films. But, what is often missed are the lessons that are taught within the story. In Evan Almighty we often got lost in watching someone being forced into building an Ark and the misadventures he gets into along the way. However, the underlying theme of the movie was missed until you get to the end of the movie. Evan was a man elected to serve our country in the House of Representatives. He had hoped that he could make the world a better place (something that many running for office proclaim to want to do). Evan, certainly had big dreams for what he could do. He was not only going to change Washington, but the US, and his family. His intention was to leave the world a better place. However, it wasn’t long before he got caught up in the Washington machine and none of that stuff was happening. He then was called by God to build an ark because the flood was coming. We were treated to a lot of laughs as well as a few hints concerning what this movie was really all about. At the end of the film we learn why God called for Evan to build an ark. To change the world required an Act of Random Kindness. As Evan repeated those words to God, God drew in the dirt the acronym. ARK – Act of Random Kindness.
Our Savior was a great example of showing kindness to others. Perhaps my favorite story of Jesus was the occasion in which he touched the leprous man to heal him of his awful disease (Matt. 8:3). If you don’t know anything about leprosy, you don’t really understand how truly amazing this story really is. There is no known cure for leprosy. Once you contract it, you would live with it for the rest of your life. It was also highly contagious. So much so that it could not only pass from person to person, but it was also capable of passing into clothing as well as a person’s home. When a person did get leprosy, he was removed from town, and required to cover his lip and shout unclean anytime he saw a person coming near (Lev. 13-14). While we cannot know how long that man had leprosy in Matt. 8 we can know the reality he faced. He was not going to get better. He was not going to feel the embrace of his family again. He was not going to live a normal life. And one day, this dreadful disease would take his life. Jesus not only was willing to heal this man of his disease, Matthew tells us that Jesus reached out and touched him. Let that sink in for just a moment. Jesus did more than heal that man’s disease. He gave him something he thought he would never have again, the touch of another human being. In order to do this, Jesus had to put himself in harm’s way; remember leprosy has highly contagious. But, Jesus’ compassion, his kindness moved him to help this man.
When is the last time you witnessed an act of random kindness? When is the last time you saw someone build an “ark.” It seems to me that things like Ferguson happen because kindness is something that is missing from our actions. We sure want people to be kind to us, but when is the last time we were actually kind to someone else? When is the last time you helped someone cross the street? When is the last time you shoveled snow for your neighbor just because? When is the last time you took a meal to someone who was sick? When is the last time you made yourself vulnerable to help someone? I am afraid for many of us, it simply has been too long. I you want to change the world, if you are tired of the suffering, if you are tired of the oppression rather than throwing a rock at a cop, or screaming at someone because they don’t think like you, show a little kindness.