One of the finest things in a complete Christian character
(J.R. Miller, "Learning to Be Thoughtful" 1898)
One of the finest things in a complete Christian character, is thoughtfulness. It gives a wondrous charm to a life. It makes one a blessing wherever he goes. It tempers all his conduct, softening all natural harshness into gentleness, and giving a spirit of kindliness to his every word and act, and to all his bearing.
A thoughtful person does not have to be asked to help others — he helps, as it were, instinctively. He is ever ready . . .
to do the obliging thing,
to say the encouraging word,
to show an interest in the life of others,
to perform those countless little kindnesses which so brighten the common pathway.
In much home-life, there is a lack of thoughtfulness shown. Not always is the speech gentle — sometimes it is sharp and bitter, even rude. Without being aware of it, many of us are miserably selfish in our life among others. We practically forget that there are any other people, or that we ought to make any sacrifices, or practice any self-denials, for their sake.
Thoughtfulness will seek always to say kindly words, never words that will give pain — but ever those that will give pleasure. We have no right, for the sake of saying a bright thing, to let loose a shaft, however polished, that will make a loving heart bleed!
We all know in our own experience, the value of sincere and Christly thoughtfulness. We do not like to come in contact with thoughtless people. We know well how it hurts and how unbeautiful, how unchristian, it seems when we see it in another — and when our heart is the one that suffers from its harsh, rude impact. We all long for thoughtfulness in others; our hearts hunger and thirst for it. It is bread and wine to us.
What we long for in others in their relation to us — we should be ready to give to them. What in others hurts us, gives us pain — we ought to avoid in our contact with others. Thoughtfulness is one of the finest, ripest fruits of Christian love — and all who would be like the Master must seek to learn this lesson, and wear this grace.