Have you noticed lately, there seems to be a lot of anger in our country? People just seem angry to me. It’s manifest in their public behavior and the way they treat one another. I find myself saddened and appalled by it in my travels almost every day.

I was in traffic the other day about 4 p.m. I try to avoid the roads at that time of day but there I was, stuck in traffic. Road work ahead had caused the lanes to narrow making matters even worse. As traffic finally began to move, a frustrated lady along side of me attempted to merge into the lane ahead. What I witnessed was so sad. Not one other person would allow her to enter the lane of traffic. Among gestures and nasty looks, all refused to let her in.

When I saw what they were doing, I slowed down and allowed her to enter into my lane. After I did so, I was flabbergasted, because I then became the moving target of their nasty looks and gestures. What had I done? It was as though I had committed an unpardonable roadway sin, instead of a thoughtful act of kindness to another human being.

As a child growing up in rural America I don’t remember folks being like that. Most people were willing to help others in a dilemma. Kindness was usually the default response to those around you, and helping others was important. In fact, you were viewed as a bit odd, if you didn’t reach out to help others.

But anger seems pervasive in our culture today. I wondered why there is so much anger and rudeness. But the more I pondered it, I considered a certain observation about our society in general. We seem to have forgotten the moral value of simple kindness. Just being kind to others has diminished from our cultural landscape, and we need to bring it back so desperately America. Kindness can be simple, but it is powerful. An act of kindness can change people’s lives and their circumstances for the better and sometimes in drastic ways you may never know.

My wife and I still open doors for folks whether man or woman, young or old. We still allow folks with fewer items ahead of us in the grocery line. We still help the elderly when they need it. We still speak to others we may not know. Call us old fashioned, but that’s the way we were taught as children and that’s the way we are today. We were also taught that kindness is a virtue from God and that people are important no matter how old they are or no matter what color they are.

We were taught that everyone in this world is a miracle created by God, deserving respect and love as human beings, even if you don’t know them. And yes, that includes those in the car next to you in traffic.

God’s word says in Galatians 5:22-24 that the fruit of righteousness in our lives is love, joy, peace, patience and kindness and even self-control. Against this God inspired righteousness, there is no law -- In other words, you can be as kind and good and patient as you like toward others, and chances are, no one is going to be offended.

I think God’s word is great counsel for us to live by in any circumstance today. In Isaiah 55:8-9 the Bible says that God’s thoughts and His ways are much higher than our thoughts and ways. When we live by His thoughts and words and His ways, life in this world is so much better. It could be as peaceful here as He intended. Well just think about it; how wonderful would this world be, if we were all just a little kinder to even people we don’t know?

Couldn’t we just show a tad more respect and love for one another? You know it all could start with you and me. That sounds like a world I would love to live in. How about you?

Get the latest news in our Headlines newsletter in your inbox each day with the top stories.

* I understand and agree that registration on or use of this site constitutes agreement to its user agreement and privacy policy.

The Rev. Dalton Lilly is pastor of Narrow Road Ministries. 

Recommended for you