For children: The young boy, Minchan Kim, not only demonstrated a beautiful example of kindness when he apologized and put his arm around his new friend, he also showed courage when he stood up to the bullies and as them stop. He stopping throwing stones himself, but he also did what he could to catch the stones thrown by others— he was a stone-catcher.
For youth: I once heard a story of a young woman at her high school reunion, where she had the opportunity to address her class and express how hurt she was by the bullying that she endured for many years. Afterward, she was approached by some classmates who were so sorry to hear of her pain, and said they hoped they hadn't contributed to it. She kindly said to them, "No, you were never mean to me, but were you nice?" Not being unkind and not gossiping. But what if we made an effort to show forth extra kindness, spreading compassion and encouragement? What if we not only stopped the bullying, but then replaced it by lifting them up, getting to know their heart, or extending greater inclusion?
For adults: Our God-given differences were never meant to be a reason for man-made division. And yet, our society loves to put things in boxes, stereotypes, categories, classes, statuses, and political parties. While sometimes necessary, these man-made separations should never be a reason to treat anyone with any less "kindness, inclusion, or civility". What are we modeling to the rising generation by how we're interacting with each other? Are we building bridges as we celebrate and respect each other's differences?
"We have a primary responsibility to set a tone and be role models of kindness, inclusion, and civility—to teach Christlike behavior to the rising generation in what we say and how we act."
"As we look through a gospel lens, we recognize that we too are under the watch-care of a compassionate caregiver, who extends Himself in kindness and a nurturing spirit. The Good Shepherd knows each one of us by name and has a personal interest in us."
I celebrate God-given differences and refuse to let them become man-made divisions. Where there is compassion and inclusion, there is unity and Christlike love.