The Power of Kindness in Responding to Unfriendly Neighbors


People, particually our neighbors, may react to our acquantence approach with avoidance or rejection for no apparent reason at all. Sometimes we wonder whether or not we have done something wrong to offend them.  However, we must realize just because people react negatively toward doesn’t mean that their behavior is about us at all.

All people have problems. Some of these problems go deeper than their reaction to our attempt to befriend them.  The history of a person and the beliefs that have established about the world and the people who inhabit it is a mystery that we will never know unless they tell us.

Therefore we must approach all our encounters with strangers or neighbors with the understanding that no one is perfect.  Many people are dealing with wounds that have accumulated over the years and have diminished their sense of gentleness toward others. The cause may be fear, lack of trust or hatred based on historical trivialities.

Therefore we must utilize the power of kindness to help deliver our unfriendly neighbors from the bondage of bitterness.  There are three reasons we use our kindness when encountering reactions of unfriendliness.

We are not perfect

Because we are not perfect, we cannot expect other people to be perfect. Many times we are so caught up in the stresses of our lives that we don’t want to be bothered by others at that moment. So we may spend time avoiding the presence of others.

Disappointments, setback, and bad breaks can cause us to fall out with the people within our immediate environment.

With the understanding of our imperfections, we can deal more effectively with other people’s attitudes and flaws.

We must maintain inner and outer peace

“Blessed are the peace makers.” Maintaining peace is highly beneficial to both us and our immediate environment.  Keeping inner peace is healthy for our mind, body, and soul.  When we refuse to allow our peace and joy to be snatched away by someone’s bitter reaction to our friendliness, we protect our own vitality and health.

If we allow ourselves to become bitter due to our neighbor’s unkindness, we will lose the healing power of peace. We will become bitter ourselves and hostile toward the ones who are bitter toward us. No one wins and no progress is made.

However, if we stand firmly on keeping our inner peace strong, we can overcome the reaction of negativity at all levels of interaction.  We become free of people.

The intensity of kindness has transformative power

Acts of kindness performed repeated toward the same person, has transformative powers.  The intensity of our kindness can change the attitudes of others. The practice of good values will eventually overcome its opposite.

Studies show that repeated acts of kindness have the power to transform the hearts and minds of even our enemies. Kindness makes the world go round.  Without acts of kindness on the earth, the lives of men, women, and children would be filled with sadness and loneliness.

Therefore, intensify your kindness toward those who resist you out of bitterness or hatred. If you intensify your kindness, you will eventually see a change, not on in yourself, but also within the person who once slighted you. This is the mighty power of kindness at work.

The Advantage of Kindness

When giving kindness becomes a lifestyle, you can more easily influence the hearts and minds of the people in your immediate surroundings.  People will recognize that there is something different about you. As a result, many people will be attracted to your personality and character.

The Negative Side of Kindness

The power of kindness is not without its critics. When kindness becomes a lifestyle, some people will think that you are letting your neighbors take advantage of you.  They will say that you are too kind and that you should stand up and fight back.

However, because you understand the power of kindness, you are able to ignore their attacks on your good character. You understand that kindness is the weapon of transformation.

Kindness takes you beyond the bitter reaction of your neighbors toward a greater purpose. You know that you possess the power of transformation. The steady application of kindness in our surroundings will help penetrate the hearts and minds of our neighbors and make them our friends.


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