A new month and another new choice….kindness.
I am intrigued by the word kind and the connotations people conjure up when they hear it. Personally I think this word often gets thought of in a similar way to the word ‘nice’ which is such a bland word and one that has become widely overused. It has become such a bleuughhh word and almost an insult. In fact, as a primary school teacher, we actively teach children not to use this word and encourage them to find another that is more interesting or exciting.
So, intrigued I looked up the definition of kind and it is the quality of being friendly, generous and considerate.The plural of kind is kindness and some of my favourite synonyms for kindness are: altruism (selfless concern for the well being of others), compassion, sympathy, hospitality, generosity, tolerance and patience to name but a few.
Suddenly, kindness takes on a whole new importance for me as it encompasses so many other fabulous attributes.
So, back to my choice for November…kindness.
In the bible the definition of kindness is: an attribute of God and a quality desirable but not consistently found in humans. It’s interesting that it is seen as a desirable quality but one that is not consistently found in humans. As an attribute of God it is one of the nine fruits of the spirit and reveals just a minuscule portion of God’s nature. Having looked at the list of synonyms for kindness we can see that it has a wider meaning than maybe we first realised and this is true of all the fruits of the spirit.
Gal 5:22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.
God encourages us through scripture to put on a heart of kindness so, it is obviously of high importance to him and something that should make us stand out from the crowd when we put it on.
Col 3:12 So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience;
In fact, when we live a life that demonstrates the fruits of the spirit we should be easy to recognise, a people that stand out for all the right reasons. Scripture tells us,
Matt 7:16 By their fruit you will recognise them.
As humans we are naturally inclined to be selfish and put our own interests first, prioritising a life that pleases us. The media actively encourages people to live like this, be your own person, get what you want, get what you can while you can, you only live once approach to living.
In today’s society, living a Christian life that is personified by kindness, going out of your way to demonstrate small acts of daily kindness is counter culture. If we have a new nature once we become spirit filled Christians then showing kindness should come easy to us and something that naturally flows out of us into the world and people around us.
We become clear signposts that point to Jesus as we go about doing good like Jesus did.
Acts 10:38 How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit, and how he went around doing good and healing all who were under the power of the devil, because God was with him.
When you live intentionally being kind to those around you, you are Jesus to those you meet. Evangelism becomes a whole lot simpler and the pressure is off you as you just have to be kind. This can look different with each person you meet, like opening a door for someone, buying someone a coffee who is on the streets, leaving someone flowers on their desk, having people back for dinner who may be lonely and on the list goes on and on. People, especially strangers, are always taken aback when people show them kindness and expect nothing in return.
I love the campaign ‘Random Acts of Kindness‘ and their advertising to be a ‘RAKtivist’ (Random acts of Kindness activist), ambassadors of kind. These are people who believe kindness can change the world, one act at a time.
There is also the amazing Kind Campaign that is a non-profit organisation to bring healing to girls who have suffered from girl on girl bullying.
So, it seems that kind is suddenly in the spotlight and this can only be a good thing for the world we live in today that is desperately in need of people who show kindness to each other.
I love the idea of anonymous random acts of kindness every day and will continue to be on the look out for people who need kindness in their life. Kindness has such a big impact on someones day and can make the recipient feel valued and seen. It can often be free, you don’t have to spend money to make someone feel special. In the words of Mother Teresa;
‘Kind words can be short and easy to speak, but their echoes are truly endless.’
What can you do today to leave a trail of kindness behind you?