By Captain Allie Niles –
I like it when someone is nice to me, I mean I really like it when someone is nice to me. When someone does something nice for me, I like it. When someone treats me like I’m the most important person to them, I really like it. Goodness! I even like it when I’m nice to someone else!
I suppose most of us are like that. We like it when we’re treated nicely, when we’re treated with respect and dignity-whether we deserve it or not. And isn’t it true you can tell when someone is being good to you and they really mean it? We are all very perceptive about those things, and most of us can tell when people are genuine.
I often wonder why it is so important and why it feels so special when people are kind to me. Maybe our world doesn’t offer much of that kind of support any more. Families live long distances from each other and work, activities, and travel take up so much time. In fact, many of the messages we receive today tell us we should get ahead no matter what it costs or who we have to destroy to do it. Basically, we hear, all we need to care about is ourselves and our immediate family. I’m concerned about this kind of attitude. What has happened to our ability to care for others, especially those less fortunate than ourselves?
Jesus had much to say regarding this issue. In Matthew 25: 34-40 He says, “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me. Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you? The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me’.” There are many other passages of Scripture related to this issue but this one seems to say it quite clearly: It really does matter what we do for others.
When The Salvation Army began over 100 years ago, it was concerned about the issue of caring for others. The Army’s Founder, General William Booth, and other early Salvationists were instrumental addressing a number of social needs, including raising the age of consent in England and working to alleviate both spiritual and physical suffering for all people within their influence.
It is noted in Booth’s book, In Darkest England and the Way Out, that a cab horse in London was guaranteed … “When he is down he is helped up, and while he lives he has food, shelter, and work.” He further notes that this standard, although humble, is “absolutely unattainable by millions…of our fellow men and women.” Such conditions inspired his challenge to his son Bramwell to “do something.”
We’re still challenged by the same creed “to love the unloved.” The early Salvationists had a real impact on their world: They changed it.
Well, back to the beginning…I still like it when someone is nice to me. I hope and pray, however, that I will have a caring attitude toward others regardless of their situation. Goodness, that might even have life-changing and world changing possibilities!