I was recently invited to speak at my sons’ school about one of the gifts of the Spirit-Kindness.
At first, I laughed when the President of the school asked that I come and provide some insight into my job as a Police Officer and how I use kindness in my work. (Do you know who I am? You’ve heard my sharp tongue and lack of tact. Are you sure?) His thought was that I would use kindness as a fruit of the Spirit in my profession. In reality, I use kindness as a tool to control ‘tools’. It is something that doesn’t naturally flow from me. Believe me…ask anybody who has spent ten minutes with me. I am mean and can be a tough pill to swallow.
In a recent article, Slate.com attempted to explain why Police Officers can be so arrogant and, candidly, insufferable jerks. We think differently because we deal with folks that can’t manage their surroundings and we have to intervene. We have zero tolerance for stupidity. In those moments, kindness is not going to be the first tool we are going pull from our belt.
It is God’s virtuous gift to be able to respond to the special needs of others who are hurting or in need. In a world full of anger, selfishness, and contention, the Lord wants us to cultivate the fruit of kindness in our lives. Let the Lord use you to show kindness to others. –The Resurgence
As leaders, I believe we need to exercise kindness when dealing with others. It can help us achieve more than busting someone’s chops. Believe me I have my moments. I recently told a mother who left her six-month old daughter and three-year son in a car alone while she went shopping that that she was being ignorant and stupid. This was after she told me un-repentantly that she knew it was wrong to leave her children locked in a car unattended.
The best example of kindness I can think of was my recent Sergeant. This man refers to ‘tools’, gang members, teenagers as sir and ma’am. His tactic to be always respectful of everyone, colors, and personal space allows him to understand the intricate Gang lifestyle in Houston. With his kindness, he was able to build a huge gang database for Police Officers to better understand the factions on the street. And ultimately, he may have save some officers lives. His contagious spirit emboldens other officers to be kinder and more respectful of the civilian population. His leadership is infectious to those under his supervision. It challenged us to slow our roll and try a different approach. He uses the tool of kindness with a deftness that comes from years of experience on the street. In other words, why fight when you can settle things with words.
During my talk to the students, I shared a simple story of how one aggressive officer was rude and inconsiderate to a woman who had witnessed a car chase come to an abrupt end. What we didn’t know was that the woman just wanted to know if the person in the car was uninjured. I only learned this because in moment of kindness I pursued her and asked her how I could help her despite my aggressive counterpart. After a few choice words directed toward me and the aggressive officer, she stated she was told her son was involved in the car chase and all she wanted to know is if he was alive and uninjured. I was able to share with her good news and I apologized to her for not being considerate of her needs.
It was at this moment, I was reminded that-It is God’s virtuous gift to be able to respond to the special needs of others who are hurting or in need.
As leaders, God may be wanting us to join Him in responding to special needs to those that are hurting.