Having survived my brief intermission at the Fruit of Patience, it is time to continue on my journey of the Fruit of the Spirit. The current destination is to the Fruit of Kindness. Now this promises to be a good place to sojourn for a bit. Kindness. Just saying or thinking of it, puts a smile on my face and in my heart.
Kindness in life is essential. A little kindness goes a long way, and the warmth it brings lasts much longer than the moment it is experienced. It would be easy to focus on the lack of kindness that is shown in the world today, but it is my desire to promote kindness in love, not judgment. What is the best way to define kindness? Simply put, it is to be nice, compassionate, thoughtful and forgiving, just because. It is to act in these characteristics without regard to self. It is being nice to someone, not because of who they are or how they act, but because of whom you are and how you choose to represent yourself. Acting in kindness is so important it is even emphasized in the Bible. Proverbs 3:3 reads, “Never let loyalty and kindness leave you! Tie them around your neck as a reminder. Write them deep within your heart.”
Years ago, there was a movement to promote social kindness, and it even had a name. It was called “Random Acts of Kindness”. People were encouraged to do something nice to another, for no reason other than to be nice and perhaps brighten their day. It was the original “Paying It Forward” theory, in that the only thanks desired was to do something nice for someone else. It still goes on today, but you don’t hear about it as much. I had the unexpected pleasure of being a recipient of this campaign years ago. I’d gone into an ice cream store, placed my order and when I prepared to pay for it, I was told it was already taken care of by another customer who’d been in earlier. The cashier explained that the customer had given an extra $20 to pay for anyone else who came in. I was both thrilled and shocked. So what did I do? I gave them the money I was going to use, and then some, to keep it going!
Though practicing kindness is by its own nature selfless, it’s one of those funny little things that often times does as much good for the giver, as it does for the receiver. How does that happen? Well, as we give kindness to others, we tend to feel better, happier and more at peace with ourselves. Knowing we did something nice or helpful to another person has a tendency to brighten our own day. Kindness given can make the receiver feel blessed, loved, cared for and welcomed. It can also give hope, friendship, warmth and aspiration. And it can help to push back fear, sadness, emptiness and loneliness.
There are many stories that could be told about acts of kindness. Simply Googling it will bring up numerous results. Reading the Chicken Soup for the Soul books will give you an abundance to choose from. All are heart-warming, most are touching, and some will downright make you cry. The one I want to focus on now though is the kindness that is shown to us perpetually by God our Father. The kindness He shows is displayed in the love He gives us, in the grace He has for us, in the blessings He showers on us and in the sacrifice He made for us. By giving up His own Son, to die on a cross for us, while we were yet estranged from Him, He gave us the opportunity to be reconciled with Him and have all of our sins forgiven and forgotten. Because of His kindness, we have an eternity of love and joy and light to look forward to, rather than an eternity of despair, darkness and separation from Him.
Obviously we can’t repay God for His kindness to us, so what do we do? We become more like Him and extend kindness to others. In doing so, we show people the love of God, through our actions. The Bible reinforces this, by stating in 2 Cor. 6:6, “We prove ourselves by our purity, our understanding, our patience, our kindness, by the Holy Spirit within us, and by our sincere love.” There are endless ways to show kindness to others, from a simple smile, to a meal for someone in need, to holding open a door or giving up a seat for someone who could use it more than you. How you choose to extend kindness is up to you. It could be based upon need, or it could be simply because you want to. It could be done openly or anonymously. When we show kindness to others, we are merely imitating God our Father. Now that is paying it forward!
Usually I end with a scripture verse that is fitting to the topic. Today I’m adding some nice quotes I found about kindness as well. I hope you enjoy.
“So we praise God for the glorious grace he has poured out on us who belong to his dear Son. He is so rich in kindness and grace that he purchased our freedom with the blood of his Son and forgave our sins. He has showered his kindness on us, along with all wisdom and understanding.” ~ Eph. 1:6-8
You cannot do a kindness too soon, for you never know how soon it will be too late. ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
Kindness is the language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see. ~ Mark Twain
Wherever there is a human being, there is an opportunity for a kindness. ~ Seneca
Kindness is in our power, even when fondness is not. ~ Samuel Johnson
No kind action ever stops with itself. One kind action leads to another. Good example is followed. A single act of kindness throws out roots in all directions, and the roots spring up and make new trees. The greatest work that kindness does to others is that it makes them kind themselves. ~ Amelia Earhart
Love and kindness are never wasted. They always make a difference. They bless the one who receives them, and they bless you, the giver. ~ Barbara De Angelis
Kindness can become its own motive. We are made kind by being kind. ~ Eric Hoffer
Kindness has converted more sinners than zeal, eloquence or learning. ~ Frederick Faber