We never know what others are dealing with. On the outside, we all look pulled together and ready to take on the world. But a broken person hides their wounds, carrying them deep inside. You can't look at someone and judge their behavior off the cuff. Often deep, personal issues guide a harsh action or cutting words.
We never know what hurts have motivated them. You can't imagine some of the awful things that have formed a personality. I prefer to think all my friends and all the people I come into contact with were raised in a safe, happy home and are in a loving marriage where they're cherished and respected. But that's not always true. You don't know, you simply don't know.
A smile or a small kindness can make a huge difference in someone's day. I saw a story about a man who smiled and waved at strangers as he drove down the street. He'd heard that a kind gesture can save someone considering suicide. Isn't that amazing? On a smaller scale, just giving a kind word can brighten an otherwise ordinary day and provide someone a needed lift.
Give others the benefit of the doubt. Go out of your way to help someone. Sure, you might not be appreciated, but that's not the point. Being kind is the point. Sometimes it might seem you're unappreciated, but perhaps the person doesn't know how to react in an appropriate manner. Do the right thing anyway.
Overlook a slight. Forgive a gaffe. Jesus tells us to turn the other cheek (Luke 6:29). That's about one of the most difficult things to do. You want to defend yourself, you want to repair the damage to your reputation, but there are circumstances where that's not possible. If you hold on to the anger and resentment, you're the one who pays the price. Truly. When we forgive it doesn't mean the pain never existed. It means the damage no longer controls our lives.
The world's harsh, be kind! After all, nobody's perfect!