Do you have a favorite show that you escape to when stress is rising all around you like the rush of an incoming tide? Mine is the Great British Baking Show. I am not a baker. I am not a good cook. I dislike the kitchen and find food prep tedious and irksome. I am very likely to cut or burn myself when cooking, I am that inept. But I love the Great British Baking Show. The minute the pastoral scenery appears on the screen, and the delightfully whimsical theme music starts to play, I feel my shoulders receding from my ears where they have spent the day. I begin to feel the ease of the Union Jack-lined bakers’ tent on the formal estate lawn take over my mind and my soul.
By the way, I don’t eat sweets. I have never even heard of half the stuff they are challenged to make. Fougasse? Dampfnudel? Savarin? Somebody bring me a Twinkie. And all the measurements are in METRICS. So why is this show so enriching to me? What draws me in and keeps me there?
It’s the kindness.
In this particular reality competition show, the contestants are exceedingly kind. The judges are kind. The hosts are funny, and kind. When the week’s “Star Baker” is named, everyone is genuinely happy for them. The patisserie served up every week is a madeleine of niceness topped with a macaroon of gentleness. And I gobble it right up.
I think kindness is in very short supply today. Anger, animosity, arrogance, and a lot of other “a” words that have no place in a devotional are the rule of the day. From Washington, D.C. to my local gas station, the lack of kindness and consideration has become the norm, and it is wearing us down.
I had a miserable encounter at a gas station with a car of ladies who attempted to cut me off from a gas pump that I was pulling into. Every pump was full, and they came from the street and drove around a large truck that was stopped at the right pump. They could not see that I had already headed in to the left pump from the opposite direction. I could not give way due to a truck that had circled around the other side and pulled in right behind me. This was during the mandatory evacuation of Hurricane Dorian, and everyone was tense. I get it.
But when I indicated to them that they would need to circle around (as I had done four times already), the driver continued toward me, angrily gesturing for me to get out of the way. I continued pulling forward to line up my gas cap with the pump, and we scraped bumpers. Immediately a passenger jumped out and ran over, shouting a blue streak of verbal anger at me. I rolled down my window and apologized, and said since I was already in line with the pump, I assumed they would wait. Apologizing again, I asked twice if her car was damaged (I could see that it was not). She continued her blue streak, telling me that damage was not the issue! I hit their car! How dare I cut them off! Fortunately the truck behind me saw (and heard) her, and backed up enough for me to back out and leave without any gas. As I drove out of the station, she ran after me, yelling.
She will never be Star Baker at the Great British Baking Show. But then again, neither will I.
Colossians 3 (NIV)
12 Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13 Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. 14 And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.
As followers of Christ, it is upon us to be kind, compassionate, humble, gentle, and patient. We are to be the reflection of Jesus to the world in every thought, word, and deed. Especially when kindness is so lacking, it becomes our call, and indeed our MANDATE, to exude gentleness in this harsh world. I remember a song I once learned that said,
“You’re the only Jesus some will ever see;
And you’re the only Words of Life some will ever read.
So let them see in you the One in whom is all they’ll ever need!
‘Cause you’re the only Jesus some will ever see.”
Something is likely to annoy the heck out of you today. Like, WAY annoy the heck out of you. Ignore it. Be kind. Be gentle. Be a Star Baker. Be Jesus. The world needs it.
Photo by The Great British Baking Show, BBC. Guys, this is BREAD.