This past Sunday I welcomed, Eva Ritvo, MD, to speak about her book, “Bekindr”.
Such a simple concept. First be kind to yourself, then be intentional about being kind to others, strangers, too. Simple things, like looking people in the eye and recognizing them as they pass.
She backed everything up with research, which I in turn researched, the skeptic that I am, to find that she is right! And then some!
Mirror Neurons. I never heard of them before! Wow, I always said we were wired by God to be in relationship with one another as well as being creatures of LOVE! Agape love. The type of love that is unconditional and action oriented, not a feeling. Bkindr is a book about Agape love, toward complete strangers and what that can do for both the one who offers Agape love, and the one receiving. Mirror neurons fire off in our brains as we look at people in the eye. Eyes trigger mirror neurons. If you smile at someone and they see it, mirror neurons fire in their brain as a smile! Likewise, mirror neurons detect anger, fear, and worry. Become a smiler, it’s contagious.
Like all spiritual gifts some excel at one but not another. Kindness is a spiritual gift. It may not come naturally to some. This concept was discussed at our adult class. “What happens if my kindness is not reciprocated?” Keep on being kind. Keep on smiling. Keep on saying, “Hello”. Be true to what you know is right regardless of how it might be received. Agape, is an action taken, regardless of how it is received. No reward necessary.
We live in a “Quid pro quo” world. You do this, I’ll do that. Everything is an exchange of some sort. We even deal with God in this way. “God I’ll do this, if you only provide me with…” How freeing it is not to keep score, to have a memory lapse about insensitive comments, or to forget a past infraction. I’m reminded of the teaching of Jesus in Luke’s account of the Sermon on the Mount, which in Luke doesn’t occur on the Mountain, but on the Plain;
Luke 6:32-35 (NRSV)
32 “If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. 33 If you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. 34 If you lend to those from whom you hope to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, to receive as much again. 35 But love your enemies, do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return.
Being Kind has everything to do with “expecting nothing in return”, that is Agape Love. Take that phrase with you each day as you seek to love like Jesus! Expect nothing in return!