This is the hardest week of the year to write my column. An entire Holy Week culminates with the celebration of Easter.
It should be a piece of cake: Say something about the gift of salvation or tell a sweet story about how someone delivered chocolate bunnies to sick kids, right?
I either go Christian or non-Christian. Make a choice and start writing. While I need to stay true to my own values, I think it’s also important to recognize the broad spectrum of beliefs and meet people where they are.
So this year instead of secular or non-secular, I want to try a third option. Let’s call it “philosophical.”
It is my understanding that most historians agree that Jesus existed and that he may have been the originator of large-scale random acts of kindness.
Jesus was compassionate. He was focused but always took time out of teaching to both heal and feed the people around him. He was honest. He stood up for what he believed and yet was completely submissive to his own heavenly father. He also appeared to be quite patient as his popularity grew and crowds of people pressed in on him relentlessly.
When asked what is the most important thing for people to do to live a good life, he simply said, “Love God and love each other.”
If you are in a place on your faith walk where you’re not able to commit to the “love God” part, then let me encourage you to start with the “love each other” part.
Make a decision before you even put your feet on the ground in the morning to love others. Put Post-It notes on your bathroom mirror to greet others with joy. Be patient with people when they annoy you. Remind yourself that others are hurting just like you, and we could all use a little more gentleness in our lives.
When someone cuts you down, be grateful for the opportunity to work on your humility. Be faithful to your partner and to your promises. Acknowledge that while you have no control over how people treat you, you do have total control over your actions, the decisions you make and the way you treat others, so make self-control a priority.
If we use Easter as a reminder, regardless of our beliefs, to be good, kind, loving people, then Jesus’ mission will be accomplished and this world will be a whole lot nicer place to be for everyone.
Whether tomorrow is about a savior, chocolate bunnies or just another morning to get out of bed, I hope you’ll use the day to remember the kindness one man lived long before taking his last breath on the cross.
Please continue to share your stories of kindness with me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Or send a letter to Kindness is Contagious c/o Nicole J. Phillips, The Forum, 101 5th St. N., Box 2020, Fargo, ND 58107.
Nicole J. Phillips is a former television anchor for Fox News in Fargo. She is a writer, speaker and mother of three kids. Nicole is married to Ohio University’s men’s head basketball coach Saul Phillips. You can also get a Daily Dose of Inspiration from Nicole at www.nicolejphillips.com.