Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Is Kindness Rude?

During our travels to Greece via New York City, we had a few interesting incidents. The first happened in NYC. I was trying to purchase two postcard stamps to mail to my kids, when a foreigner in front of me did not have US currency. The lady at the register was being difficult, the man was frustrated, and I did not have time to wait. I offered to pay the 94 pennies to help him out, but the postal lady told me I could not make the purchase for him… after a minute of arguing that I could buy what I wanted, I gave the man the dollar and he bought the stamp himself, rather unbelievable.

The next frustrating attempt at kindness was in Greece. We went with our friend to a Gypsy Camp to basically play with the children there. It was good to color with the kids, read the story of Jonah and the whale, give out candy, & play volleyball, but there was a man and his mother-in-law who did not agree. They called the police on us and we actually got taken into the station for, “forcing our way into their homes.” Obviously, there is more to the story, but the basic is that we were serving the poorest of the poor in Greece, only to be rejected!

My final incident was in my layover in Newark. I was waiting on Robert and asked a couple of people if I could sit on one of two empty chairs. With a tone of being totally put out, they said “I guess…”. A few moments later, the wife/mom came back to the table and got on to her family for letting me pull one of the chairs away from the table to sit down, because she wanted to put her bag on it… I gave her the chair back, stood up, and moved.

Don’t misunderstand my expectations with all of this. I know that people outside of a relationship with Christ act differently than those of us who have been born again, but what about common courtesy. What about helping out a person in need or simply showing a bit of kindness to strangers? Are we so far gone as a people that being kind is actually rude? Is it just that different in Yankee land and foreign countries or did I happen to catch a few people on the wrong day?

Here is an interesting video from an aforementioned story:

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