My friend recently opened up about his three-year battle with deep depression. A few years on the other side of it now he finally feels confident to share — determined he isn’t going back into the pit.
I’m not around him often so it’s not surprising he was able to hide the debilitating experience from me. But I do remember contacting him once or twice during that time and receiving an oddly cold reception, almost as if he were annoyed at my call.
Instead of checking on him or acknowledging that something seemed out of character I determined I must have called at a bad time and let it go.
An interesting note about this particular friend is that he is the one who many years ago introduced me to the concept of always being kind to others no matter how they behave because we don’t know what’s happening in their lives at that moment.
There’s a famous quote about this concept: “Be kind for everyone is fighting a battle you know nothing about.”
For as long as I’ve know him my friend has used a version of this quote along with a Scripture reference at the end of his email messages after his name.
I haven’t located the original source of the quote. It seems to have been attributed most often to a variety of Greek philosophers and on occasion to a handful of modern-day bloggers.
No matter who first said it the point is clear and a good reminder to all of us.
And Colossians 3:12 says it even better: “Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.”
So when someone in the service industry is rude to us or our friend doesn’t return our calls and texts we should respond with kindness and love, showing grace, rather than getting upset.
If someone close to us chooses not to share about a health concern or difficult situation he or she is facing, we can find other ways to support and care for him or her. We can still pray without knowing the specifics — and we can always be kind.
—Jennifer Davis Rash