It's Valentine's Day, and if I read the signs on social media correctly, apparently love is in the air. Hallmark cards, heart-shaped boxes of chocolates, and bouquets of red and pink flowers aside, whether you are single, married, or have a special someone, I pray today you'll be inundated with kindness.
This morning a stranger blessed me with a Random Act of Kindness. When I pulled up to the payment window in the Dunkin’ Donuts drive thru lane, the clerk smiled and told me the car before mine had paid my bill.
Lately it seems that more and more people are looking for opportunities to perform Random Acts of Kindness for others. No matter what their motivation behind this desire, I cannot deny that any move in the direction of more kindness is a good thing.
A Bible story I read recently started me thinking about true kindness. How kind was Jesus in healing the ten lepers, all the while being fully aware that only one would return to show his thanks? (See Luke 17:11-19.)
I might argue that Jesus was the kindest man who ever lived. As I study the vast number of healings and other miracles Jesus performed, I cannot deny his compassionate and kind nature.
Jesus taught often about kindness—plain, old-fashioned, every-day, common kindness. Based on the quantity of what he had to say about it, it seems he’d rather see kindness in his followers than any other character trait.
I am reminded, though, that any amount of kindness I exhibit will not save me. Jesus alone has made the way for me to be saved.
What then is kindness as Jesus so perfectly modeled for us?
Kindness according to Jesus means feeding those who are hungry or thirsty. Who might need a meal that I can provide?
Kindness means inviting the stranger into our homes, or perhaps helping in a homeless or women’s shelter.
Kindness means clothing those who lack clothes. I have plenty of excess, good-quality clothing I can donate.
Kindness means tending the sick. I can send in meals, or drive the sick ones to their doctor appointments.
Kindness means visiting those who are imprisoned. Perhaps some facet of prison ministry could use my help.
Kindness means forgiving those who have hurt us.
Kindness means providing for the poor. Is there a child I could support through an agency like Compassion, World Help or Show Hope?
Kindness means bringing help to those suffering with diseases.
Kindness means giving orphans a family and home. Perhaps I could help an adopting family with the cost of adoption.
Kindness means caring for widows. Could the hubby and I help a widow by working on her car, home, and other repairs and upkeep?
Kindness means freeing those who were captured and are in slavery. I can donate to organizations that rescue girls and boys from sex trafficking.
Kindness means loving our enemies.
Kindness means taking the good news of Jesus Christ to the people of every nation, tribe, and tongue. I can look for ways to support missionaries—by writing to them, financially supporting them, and praying for them regularly. And God, please DO send me to Africa!
We aren’t kind to others just to be “nice” to them. If that’s our motivation, we miss the heart of the matter. Instead, our kind deeds should flow out of our great personal love for Jesus Christ and for what he has done for us. When we are truly in love with someone, we yearn to do what pleases him. Jesus has made it so clear throughout the Scriptures what pleases him.
However, be assured that not one single act of kindness, no matter how small, will go unnoticed or unrewarded. When no human sees or appreciates those deeds, He does. (Matthew 10:42 and Hebrews 6:10)
Over the next several days, I want to research some of the many scriptural references to kindness. Here's one that's always a good reminder:
"Above all else, love each other deeply" (1 Peter 4:8)
What will you do today to show some love and kindness to those around you?