Originally published Thursday, 27 February 2014.
As I listen to the conversations exchanged by strangers at a restaurant…
As I hear co-workers talk amongst themselves…
As I pass a homeless woman on my way home…
As I read Facebook status’ that rawfully share a friend’s current struggles…
I start to think.
And be reminded.
And can’t seem to stop realizing, over and over again, the extreme power of kindness.
How it changes my day.
And the other person’s day.
How it reminds me of the good in people.
And the fact that we really are all in this together.
And how there are opportunities we have everyday to share kindness but we so often choose to look the other way.
We will have seasons in our lives when we desperately rely on the kindness of our Jesus and those He has made to lift our spirits.
Those around us will have seasons in their lives when they need us to be there and they need us to be kind and gentle with how we treat them.
It doesn’t take a lot of extra energy to say hello, to cook someone dinner, to take out your grandmother’s trash, to spend time investing in a friend, to sit and to listen to the weariness in their heart, to just…be there.
And be kind.
The truth is, you rarely know all the battles that those around you are facing.
Because the demands of this life are tough and schedules are jam-packed, even when others need your kindness, they may be too busy or fearful to share their story with you or too prideful to be real about what’s going on.
Which is why it is crucial to be kind, always.
Why wouldn’t you?
Because you were wronged?
Because you are in a bad mood?
Because you are also struggling?
Because you just don’t FEEL like it?
Because that other person doesn’t deserve it?
Well, newsflash, you are here and alive because the greatest act of kindness that was ever performed was done for you.
So that you may share.
So that you can spread the kindness to every hand you embrace, every face you pass and every person in your life, REGARDLESS of whether you feel as though they deserve it.
Whether they deserve it is not your decision to make anyway.
I know this all sounds redundant and elementary but I find it deeply necessary that we are aware of the power that we hold every single day:
The power to be kind to everyone, especially those who are offering nothing in return.
When you do, I would bet you $1,000,000 (I don’t even have .0009 percent of that) that when you make an intentional effort to be kind to those around you, you are a more joyful person and it becomes a part of you.
You open your heart and your heart grows.
It becomes more aware of the realities of the people around you causing you to LOOK, to notice, to understand, to see the perspective of— to RESPOND.
You can only control you.
So it doesn’t matter how people respond or whether they reciprocate the kindness, it was never about what you were “getting back” in this equation anyway.
Sometimes kindness is recognizing someone you know is going through a struggle and offering to just listen to their heart.
Sometimes kindness is simply smiling, saying “Hello” and sticking around to hear the real answer to the “How are you?” part.
Sometimes kindness is talking to that person that struggles with friendships and deciding to invest in them first.
Sometimes kindness is cooking dinner for a family because you know the parents are struggling and they are too prideful to ask for help.
Sometimes kindness is stopping to talk to a homeless person and making sure they know that they are valued and their story is not over.
Sometimes kindness is a big task.
Other times, it is so small and feels miniscule.
But, you MUST know, that no matter how small or big the act of kindness may be, it makes a HUGE difference.
In the person or people who received your act of kindness.
In the environment you live in, work in and every place you are involved.
It is a titlewave.
More powerful than you could have prepared yourself for and it seeps into everything and everyone it touches.
Kindness is beautiful.
Especially when it is a way of life.
Let the kindness of Jesus Christ wash over you.
Let it permeate your heart.
Control your spirit.
Lead your hands.
Spread it into every corner of the world that you can.
Expect nothing in return but everything you have already been given: Life because of His kindness.
Kindness is warm wisdom as it listens to the pain of another, soothes the sting, wraps it in a blanket and cooks breakfast for the morning.
It does not mask hurt, it simply hears it and refuses to do nothing in return.
Kindness is Jesus.
“Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.” -Ephesians 4:32
“When a man’s ways please the LORD, He makes even his enemies to be at peace with him.” -Proverbs 16:7