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Deeds of kindness

"Kinder" and "gentler" have become 1990s buzz words - suggesting, perhaps, the world is hungry to practice what the Savior taught.

If so, then each of us needs to feed our fellowmen with actual deeds and works that reflect Christ's teachings.Those teachings are replete in the scriptures, but are certainly succinct in the Sermon on the Mount.

"And behold, it is written, an eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth;

"But I say unto you, that ye shall not resist evil, but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also;

"And if any man will sue thee at the law and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloak also;

"And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain.

"Give to him that asketh thee, and from him that would borrow of thee turn thou not away.

"And behold it is written also, that thou shalt love thy neighbor and hate thine enemy;

"But behold I say unto you, love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them who despitefully use you and persecute you;

"That ye may be the children of your Father who is in heaven;" (3 Ne. 12: 38-45.)

A good sister, walking one afternoon for the exercise that would benefit her physical well-being, learned that trying to practice what Christ taught, even in a small way, can bring spiritual health.

Because the day was a little cold, she bundled herself in a hooded jacket and headed out. As she was about to cross a not-so-busy intersection, she didn't see a car turning to cross her path. Instinctively, she hollered at the driver, hoping he would realize how he'd frightened her. The driver waved and the car continued on its way. So did the sister.

But as she walked, she began to wonder.

Sure, the car scared her a little, but she really was never in any danger. In fact, she was more inconvenienced than anything. And, perhaps, hollering wasn't the most effective - not to mention kind or gentle - way to express her feelings. And what about the wave of the driver. Perhaps he meant it to say "I'm sorry."

Hindsight now suggested that the encounter happened so fast that she could be sure of neither her actions nor the driver's intentions. But what harm could come from giving him the benefit of the doubt?

The more she walked, the more she thought. And the pondering allowed the Spirit to nudge her. While the possible misdeed was really rather small, she nevertheless soon reached the inevitable conclusion. She should try to make amends.

But how?

She didn't even see the car well enough to know its make and model. And, of course, she had no idea where the car and driver were now. Or did she? The car, possibly, could have ended up in a nearby business park. She could at least investigate.

She found a car that looked sort of familiar and decided to inquire at the insurance office near where it was parked. She explained her purpose - a desire to apologize - to the surprised car owner. But he wasn't the sought-after driver. Outside, she searched unsuccessfully for other similar cars.

Saddened by her failure, but heartened by her effort, she left. Perhaps, she hoped, at least her effort didn't go unnoticed by the unsuspecting driver to whom she did explain her plight. Perhaps he would see that someone had tried to be just a little kinder.

The entire incident will never be recorded in the world's history books. But it was recorded in someone's heart. And, even if only in one heart at a time, good works must be sown by each of us every day. Ultimately our efforts will pay big benefits.

Perhaps, then, we should approach each day following the admonition given to those who embark in the service of God.

"Remember faith, virtue, knowledge, temperance, patience, brotherly kindness, godliness, charity, humility, diligence." (See D&C 4:2,6.)

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