Kindness is not about doing good for others to be seen or known. How many times have you seen big announcements when a rich and famous person donates money? It is amazing how public many people, famous or not, are in their good deeds. Matthew 6:3 says, “But when you give to someone in need, don't let your left hand know what your right hand is doing.” Giving to someone is good. Giving in secret is better. Truly kind people give to others when no one else is looking.
Kindness is not self-serving. Many people do good things for themselves. High school students volunteer for points for their scholarship programs. Adults volunteer for credit at work. There’s nothing wrong with that, as they are still helping others. However, truly kind people look for ways to help others when it does not benefit them at all.
Kindness is not self-centered. It’s easy for people to help others when it is convenient for them. They may schedule times to help or volunteer. While there’s nothing wrong with that, truly kind people help others when they need help. This may be in the middle of dinner or in the middle of the night. It doesn’t matter.
I’ve spent a good bit of time trying to come up with some ways to show kindness in this world. Lately, I’ve found myself surrounded by middle school aged girls, and in general, they are not very kind. I have actually grown quite discouraged by the way they treat each other. They are vicious and cruel and ugly, and I’m pretty sure they are little reflections of the society around them. People are just mean to each other, and it’s a real shame. A little bit of kindness could help things a lot.
We live in a “Me” society. If you don’t believe that, just go to the mall and read some of the messages the stores are putting out. “It’s all about me.” “I deserve it.” “I’ll buy it for me, because no one else matters.” No wonder our kids are only looking out for themselves! That’s what we as a society are raising them to do.
Kindness is a fruit of the spirit, which means that as we grow as Christians, we will start to develop more of it. However, some people develop fruit faster than others. For those of us who struggle with kindness, here is a great Bible verse:
Ephesians 4:32 “Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.” Since Christ was (and is) kind to us, we need to be kind to others.
A great way to practice kindness (and it does take practice!) is to do random good deeds. If you’ve never tried it, you should. It’s fun! For my 40th birthday, I pledged to do 40 random good deeds. I must confess that I have not reached my 40 deeds yet. Life got in the way, and I got distracted. I’m over halfway there, but I still have more to go.
I think the most fun good deed I did was handing a stranger with a baby a pack of diapers. The look on her face was so worth the bargain price I paid for the diapers (with coupons of course!). There have been other fun ones, too, but that was the best, because I’ve been in her shoes. I know how expensive it is to keep a baby’s butt happy, so I was glad to help out a little.
If we all pledged to do one good deed a day, we could make our community a better place. Did you know there are whole websites about doing good deeds? Google it. You’ll find all kinds of ideas.
Will you make a pledge with me to do one kind deed a day? Your deeds don’t have to be elaborate. They can be as simple as letting someone go in front of you in traffic. If we all did one good deed a day, those deeds would add up to a lot. Then, the people we were kind to would be kind to other people, and we could start a kindness epidemic!
If we are going to be kind, we have to plan for it. Ephesians 5:15-16 says, “Be careful, then, how you live – not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.” We have to be purposeful in how we live. If we intend to be kind, we have to plan to be kind. Otherwise, the days will get away from us. We need to plan how we will respond kindly when someone is rude to us. That way, when it happens, we’re ready. We have to plan how we will be kind in the grocery store or in traffic or in life. That way, when the opportunity arises, we are ready. Form a plan of kindness and stick to it! Will you join me in making the most of every opportunity for kindness? Our lives and our world will be better if we do! -Al