Kindness is not passive. It does not sit around and wait until it sees a person or situation in which it might be useful. Instead, it actively engages the world wherever it is. It is different than niceness in that it is genuine, real, and true. You can be nice because you care about people, but you can also be nice because of rote etiquette without caring one whit. In the same way, you can be nice because you fear the social consequences of being rude. But you are always kind because you care, or because you empathize. Kindness is a direct result of spiritual transformation (Galatians 5:22).
Kindness is motivated not by social pressures or other external forces. Instead it is motivated by an internal drive to bring goodness, comfort, and generosity to others. It is powered by a consideration for people, and it is very often self-sacrificial. Consider how Jesus called out to God to forgive the people who were crucifying him on a criminal’s cross even though he had committed no crime, and carried no legitimate offense (Luke 23:34). His kindness was motivated by a love and care for the people who were actively doing him harm! His kindness willfully engaged the world in the midst of darkness. Such kindness is a spirituality of the highest order.
We live in a dark world of hurt people. This means that almost everywhere you go, there are opportunities to extend kindness to others. In fact, there is a strong expectation that as a follower of Christ and a member of his family that you will live, promote, and exude kindness wherever you are (Ephesians 4:32, Luke 6:35,Colossians 3:12, Galatians 6:10).
Implementing kindness in your life can come in many forms. It doesn’t require any training, expertise or talent. If you are a true follower of Christ, it is an outgrowth of the Holy Spirit working in you (Galatians 5:22). So how can you be kind? You can smile. You can genuinely give someone an encouraging word. You can compliment someone for something good that you truly see in them. You can look for good that you can compliment in everyone. You can provide someone help by giving (not loaning) your time, or your money, or your expertise. You can look for needs among your church family, your neighborhood, your community — or even among your enemies — and then meet those needs.
Can you think of seven people you can show kindness to throughout the following week? Can you think of ways that someone has been kind to you this past week? I would love to hear about it! If you have some examples, Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org