Kindliness

The very word "kindliness" carries with it such thoughts of inherent goodness that we pause before the concept of benignity it presents. Kindliness is love manifest. It speaks of tenderness, consideration, gentleness, compassion, graciousness, sympathy, benevolence, understanding. How pleasant it is to be associated with those who are "kindly affectioned one to another"! How safe one feels in such an atmosphere! How natural to be oneself when one is in the presence of the kindliness which knows no harsh criticism! How free and fetterless is thought where condemnation is not found and where kindliness reigns—the kindliness which is not merely an outward seeming, but which springs from a heart aglow with good will!

A wise man has said that we are critical and intolerant of others because we judge ourselves by our ideals, but others by their acts. When tempted to be unkindly critical of another, let us remember that if we could but look into the heart of the one we would judge and condemn, we might find the same deep longing for perfection, the same lofty aims, the same earnest striving toward the light which we find within ourselves. When we realize how far short we fall of attaining our ideals, how inadequately our words express our thoughts, and how little some of our acts show forth our aims, should we not humbly pause, and examine ourselves, before condemning another?

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The Meaning of Life
March 6, 1937
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