A Kind Word
August 6, 2014 • By Ed Wrather
What is desired in a man is kindness, and a poor man is better than a liar. - Proverbs 19:22 NKJV.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. - Galatians 5:22-23a NKJV.
Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; 13 bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do. - Colossians 3:12-13 NKJV.
The people of the land have used oppressions, committed robbery, and mistreated the poor and needy; and they wrongfully oppress the stranger. So I sought for a man among them who would make a wall, and stand in the gap before Me on behalf of the land, that I should not destroy it; but I found no one. - Ezekiel 22:29-30 NKJV.
Australian Don Ritchie has been called the “Angel of the Gap.” From 1964 until Don passed away two years ago he was able to prevent 160 people from jumping to their deaths at “the Gap.” Sadly, there have been far more than that who did successfully jump to their deaths. An article in the Sydney Morning Herald in March 2010 says an estimated 50 people jump to their deaths every year at “the Gap.” The article also reports that suicide “is the leading cause of death for Australians under the age of 44. In 2007, 1881 suicides were registered in Australia, with a further 65,000 attempts recorded.” Suicide is a problem worldwide and the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention states, “In 2011, 39,518 suicides were reported, making suicide the 10th leading cause of death for Americans.”
Don Ritchie tried his best to stop people from committing suicide. In his early years, he would actually tackle people who were on the verge of jumping and drag them away from the cliff. Over the years, Ritchie perfected a better method for preventing those deaths. Every morning he would look out his window to see if there were anyone standing there who might be contemplating ending their life. If he did see someone he would walk out to them with his palms facing up smiling and say, “Is there something I could do to help you?” Ritchie says, “I’m offering them an alternative, really. I always act in a friendly manner. I smile. Over the years, I’ve spoken to many, many of them - just a way of saying, ‘What are you doing over here? Please come and talk to me. Come over and have a cup of tea, come and have a beer.’ To get them away from what’s on their mind, to get them away from going over while I’m here.” His daughter Sue Ritchie Bereny says, “And that was all that was often needed to turn people around, and he would say not to underestimate the power of a kind word and a smile.” Don Ritchie was awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia in 2006 for his many rescues. May God raise up many more like Don Ritchie! (The Sydney Morning Herald; Gawker 08.06.14)
Often, it does not take that much to stand in the gap for those around us who desperately need help. Sometimes all it takes is a smile and a kind word to prevent a tragedy. Sometimes all it takes is a prayer and God moves mountains to bring peace into the lives of hurting people. Sometimes all it takes is to share the truth of God’s Word that Jesus loves them and wants to be their Savior to bring healing to a hurting heart. Are you standing in the gap? Can you say a kind word to someone today?