Updated: Aug 17, 2021
Spreading kindness is a phrase that is used a lot these days; however, this call to action asks us to look beyond the comfortable, easy assist. True... just a smile or a friendly wave of the hand can lift one's spirits and we would consider this an expression of kindness. I feel this calls us to a deeper action than superficial expressions.
The dictionary states, "Kindness is a type of behavior marked by acts of generosity, consideration, or concern for others, without expecting praise or reward." Many authorities note kindness to be a behavior of the highest calling. The Bible speaks of kindness repeatedly, and, in fact, lists kindness as one of the fruits of the spirit written in Galatians 5:22-23, "But the fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law." This is a notice to all who believe that if you are a believer, these things should be evident in your life to those around you. Aristotle defines kindness as "helpfulness toward someone in need, not in return for anything, nor for the advantage of the helper himself, but for that of the person helped." Nietzsche, the German philosopher, writes that kindness and love are the "most curative herbs and agents in human intercourse."
We are not called to be the world's doormat; however, we are called to give sacrificially to our brothers and sisters around us. We are called to look for those in need and use our gifts and talents to meet their need, putting others' needs first and our desires second. It is easy to give out of our personal excess, or when others have synergistic thoughts and beliefs to our own. The question is, do we have the strength and the ability to help others, just because they are in need and we have the ability to meet that need? I strive to be more kind and to see the needs of those around me, instead of looking over them like a pesky gnat flying in front of my face. Like so many around me, I quickly reach out to help someone that is like me, or that is pleasant, or "kind" toward me. But... do I go past the initial smile and wave? Do I call that person I know is lonely? Do I go to a meeting that is boring? Do I give a buck, or a sandwich to the homeless person on the corner?
It is my belief that God places people of need in our path and He expects us to be His eyes of compassion, recognizing the needs of others, and His arms of love, reaching out to these people once we identify them. I cringe as I write this, knowing that I have a long way to go and much to learn about showing kindness at all times. Who am I to write about kindness, when I fail to do this completely on a daily basis? I am just a woman who wants to do better and is calling all of us to do what we can.
Spreading kindness is not for the weak. It requires sacrifice and effort; along with the smiles and waves. What a better place this world would be if we offered God's gifts and talents to be used as He intended; to serve those who are less fortunate and are in need of what we readily possess. Remember, every gift God gives us, gets bigger when we give it away. Lord, help me have greater eyes to see the need of those around me and greater hands to serve those who possess that need.