“But when you give alms, do not let your left hand know what your right is doing.” Matthew 6:3
When I was a child I was encouraged to give something up for Lent as a sacrifice to God. But somehow giving up chocolate or ice cream (or at least trying to) didn’t work for me. When I failed, which invariably I did, I felt as though the days when I had succeeded were negated.
This year, might it be enough if each day I try to do something kind for someone else, and not get caught doing it? Then, if I forget or fail on one day, there are all the previous days when I helped someone and nothing will change those moments. And there is nothing to prevent me from doing two things the next day (whereas you cannot “un-eat” more chocolate).
The key is to do these good deeds quietly, which for me is much harder than it looks. Here are just a few ideas to try during this season of Lent:
- Send a thank you note to someone who would never expect it; perhaps someone from long ago.
- Slow down when running walking errands. Notice the people around you. Smile.
- Call someone who loves you.
- Let the harried woman in line behind you checkout first.
- Hold the door for someone; and then wait and hold it for someone else.
- Did you receive good service? Call a day or two later and let the manager know. Thanking someone immediately is always nice; but when you call at a later time, the manager knows that an impression was made.
- Listen; really listen.
- Pray. If you think of someone, pray for them. If someone is rude or unkind, pray for them. And it doesn’t count if you say aloud, “Yeah, thanks to you too Bub, you’ll be in my prayers for the next week.”
From the movie, Pay It Forward: