The Penalty for Kindness
February 28, 2005 • By Ed Wrather02.28.05
“You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.” This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets. - Matthew 22:37-40 NKJV.
“…I tell you not to resist an evil person. But whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also. If anyone wants to sue you and take away your tunic, let him have your cloak also. And whoever compels you to go one mile, go with him two. Give to him who asks you, and from him who wants to borrow from you do not turn away.” - Matthew 5:39-42 NKJV.
So what is the penalty for kindness? Apparently, it is a $930.00 fine in the case of Young v. Ostergaard and Zellitti. The judge in the case ruled in favor of the plaintiff, Wanita Renea Young, who claimed an uninvited delivery of cookies caused her to be hospitalized with an anxiety attack the next day.
The defendants, Taylor Ostergaard, 17, and Lindsey Jo Zellitti, 18, enjoy doing nice things for other people. From an early age Taylor and Lindsey have enjoyed baking cookies, fudge, breads and other goodies for their friends and neighbors. Carolyn Murphy, a nearby neighbor to the Ostergaards remembers a “year’s worth” of home baked zucchini breads and fudge generously given to them by their neighbors.
The case in question occurred as a result of Lindsey and Taylor deciding to stay home and bake cookies instead of going to a party. They wanted to do something nice for their neighbors to let them know others cared about them. Each neighbor received a half dozen cookies. With the cookies, Lindsey and Taylor had cut out big red hearts from construction paper with the message “Have a great night.” The girls did write a letter of apology to Young saying that they, “… just wanted you to know that someone cared about you and your family.”
Have you ever done something nice for someone and had it backfire on you? Probably most of us have had good intentions, and found that those good intentions were not appreciated at one time or another. When things like that happen to us how should we respond? Should we stop doing nice and kind things for other people? Should we avoid those people who were unappreciative of our actions?
Jesus gives us some hard instructions on how to proceed, doesn’t He? We should keep on being nice, kind, and good even to those people who hate us. Not only should we nice, kind, and good to them; but we should pray for them, as well!
Lindsey and Taylor, you will be glad to know, have followed the instructions of Jesus. They are continuing to bake goodies to give away to others, and they are praying for Wanita Young. What a great example for us all to follow!
Actually, we see that there is not a penalty for kindness, but a reward. The reward is that we are able to follow the example of our Lord Jesus and in so doing; we are acting as the sons and daughters of our Heavenly Father. As Jesus says, “But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust (Matthew 5:44-45).”