Kindness and Tact—What They Can Accomplish
FOR many people acting unkindly is the rule rather than the exception. In acting this way they usually set off a chain reaction, as their victims strike back the same way. However, true Christians ‘seek to clothe themselves with kindness.’ (Col. 3:12) In doing this, they can deal with unkindness in a most effectual way. The joyful outcome of the following experience of one of Jehovah’s witnesses underscores this fact:
“One day, while I was making personal visits, I knocked on a door where a German girl answered. I was delighted because I could give my sermon in German, for my English was not very good then. After I began to explain my purpose in calling at her home, she interrupted me and said in a very unkind way, ‘I hate God and I want to have nothing to do with the Bible.’ As I was leaving, she said, ‘If you need anything personal, you can come to me.’
“A short time later, I needed someone who knew both German and English and who could translate something for me. I could think of no one except this German girl who had acted so unkindly. With some misgivings, I tapped on her door. She opened the door and said coldly, ‘What, are you back again?’
“I answered, ‘But you said I could come back again if I needed something.’
“‘Oh!’ she said and then added, ‘Well, come on in!’
“After I explained the matter to her, she became very friendly and she helped me with it. To show my appreciation for her help, I invited her to come to my home the next day for some German cake and coffee. Well, she came again and again. She seemed to be coming every day. I had an idea. If she keeps visiting me, I have an excellent opportunity to tell her something about the Bible and God’s promised new order. So during her visits as we drank coffee and munched on German cake, I told her a little about God’s purposes each day.
“For instance, when her little boy had some sickness, I pointed out that he would not have any sicknesses at all in Jehovah’s new order. When she spoke of her longing to own a new house, I tactfully explained to her that she could own one in the earthly paradise that God promises. This gentle seeding and watering went on for about four months. One morning she came to my home early and knocked on the door. I opened the door and there she stood with that same unkind look that she had when I first met her. She almost pushed me into the house and ordered me to sit down, which I did. Then she angrily waved her arm at me and said, ‘You, you have bewitched me.’
“I answered her mildly, ‘I have? How?’
“She replied: ‘Last night I dreamed about that new order that you always talk about. Since you are the one telling me these things, show me where they are in the Bible!’ So I took my Bible and showed her what she wanted to know. ‘Now,’ she cried, ‘come to my house.’ We went to her home and there she took her thirty-dollar Bible down from a very high shelf. She then said, ‘Now, show me from my own Bible!’ I did.
“A few months later, when she had acquired more understanding of the Bible, she took her thirty-dollar Bible under her arm and went from door to door where she lived. She showed the people many of the wonderful things that she had learned. She did this because she felt that she owed it to Jehovah to let everyone know that she had really changed. Some admitted that this had to be the true religion if it could change a person like her.
“I have learned from this experience that if you meet anyone who is unkind, always show kindness. Who knows, it could be another sheeplike person.”