Kindness above all


After Confederate General Robert E. Lee retired from military life, he was named president of Washington and Lee University in Lexington, Virginia. Originally named Washington Academy because of a $50,000 gift from George Washington, the name of the school was changed in 1871 in honor of Lee who served as its president from 1865-1870.

While Lee was president of the university, a new student came into Lee’s office and asked for a copy of the school’s rules and regulations. Lee replied that the school had no printed rules. He said, “Our only rule is kindness.”

How great is that? Kindness is certainly something good to live by. If we all lived a life of kindness to others, what a great community we would have. And if all countries around the world would practice kindness what a different world it would be!

If we lived by the golden rule of kindness, living life would be much more pleasant. Luke 6:31 says “Do to others as you would have them do to you.” Some people, however, have twisted the words of Jesus, saying, “Do it to others before they do it to you.” That’s the way of the world, but it’s certainly not the way of Jesus.

Sounds good to me. Be kind to others. Cheer up others as best you can. Do good to others. These are good rules to live by.

“Do not covet,” and whatever other commandment there may be, are summed up in THIS ONE RULE. Wouldn’t it be nice if we didn’t have so many rules and regulations to go by in life?

It would be nice if there was just one basic rule that we could live by, that would apply to everything we do in life.

OH WAIT, THERE IS SUCH A RULE! It’s the rule of love. It’s found in I Corinthians 13:13 “And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.” The greatest way to live and the greatest is the rule of love.

I read not long ago that John Wesley had this for his rule of life. Do all the good you can, by all the means you can, in all the ways you can, in all the places you can, at all the times you can, to all the people you can, as long as you can.

Why did Wesley have and practice this rule? Because he loved God and he loved his neighbor as himself.

As God’s children, wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could just find a way to live by that philosophy. Love means you do what you know God has said in His Word. Love is a matter of obeying God’s Word as best you can, and when you fail to follow the “golden rule,” ask God for forgiveness and vow to do better next time.

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Finding Faith is written by area pastors. This week’s column comes from Pastor Mark E. Riley of First Church of Christ in Flemington.


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