In a world today where we’re surrounded by more and more people self-absorbed, impatient, and generally cruel, kindness is one thing we all could use more of. If there was a behavior my family set the example of and tried to teach me more than any other, it would be kindness.
Over the past fifty years, I’ve gradually seen behaviors like the general expectation of opening the door for others, helping someone in need without hesitation, friendly talking with strangers about their day, and respecting others who may even disagree with you, become much less common, if not rare.
That’s not to say that there aren’t kind people. I know many who would give their right arm for a stranger. Who share their lives for the sake of others who are in need whether that means to take them to the store when they need a lift or if they’ve just lost everything due to a natural disaster.
Science has now proven that being kind is something we are made to be. We have a physical reaction to kindness; by being kind to others, by receiving kindness from others, and by simply observing an act of kindness. In my opinion, I see this as how a loving God has created us in His image. Here’s an interesting video on the science of being kind for you to enjoy below:
When in middle-school, I was picked on a lot. Coming from a family where kindness was demonstrated to others, I sought out those who were like me. We had our own little ‘Breakfast Club’ in the study hall. Yeah, we were the ones who played chess and enjoyed solving the Rubix Cube. We were the nerds. I wasn’t the smartest of the bunch, but we treated each other with respect and kindness. I still have great memories of those friends.
I’d hope that by now the bullies who liked to pick on us have learned to treat others with kindness by now, but who knows. Either way, my value of kindness isn’t changed or determined by their lack of it.
I know I’ve felt convicted writing this of a few times when I went along with the crowd and picked on someone when in elementary school. I plan to reach out to them about it and ask their forgiveness because, I know, those pains can stay with us for a lifetime. Ironically, we watched an episode of Everyone Loves Raymond tonight about dealing with bullies. God has a way…
It was kindness that God used to bring healing to my heart later in life when I was going through the most difficult time I’ve ever been through, by pushing me to help in a homeless kitchen in San Francisco. I know without a doubt it was the act of putting others first, the least of our society, that brought faith and trust back to my heart.
Kindness is infectious. It doesn’t discriminate between color, social class, occupation, intelligence, gender, or for any other reason. It is the self-less, compassionate act of goodness toward another that makes a difference in their life.
If I had one recommendation to a married couple who may be struggling with getting along, it would be to start treating your spouse with more kindness. For some, it may mean reacting like they were talking to a stranger. That may sound shallow, but we often treat strangers better than our own family. How much more do we love our own family?
Kindness is not only something we all need, it’s something God wants us to practice and be. The Bible has many examples of kindness and instructions to treat others like we would like to be treated – The Golden Rule. It’s one I live by and is prominent in my mind.
This weekend, while at a group event, I made a comment to a friend that came out sounding the opposite of what I meant it to sound like by another friend who overheard it. He ribbed me about it, but I left feeling horrible because my words seemed to put others down when I was trying to lift up my other friend. God didn’t let me get away with that one, because He wants me to be kind and never put one above another. Suffice to say, I apologized and learned a lesson that day.
If you’re struggling with other people being unkind, I want to encourage you to find a way to be kind to a friend, neighbor, family member, or just someone you may not know. It doesn’t have to be a big deal because even the smallest of kind gestures makes a difference in all our lives. That kindness will not only bless them, it will bless you. It may even bless others who notice it too…
Tonight, I’ll leave you with two clips below I think you may enjoy that blessed me when reading a bit about kindness. One is an award winning short called Silence, about bullying, and the other is a great short about kindness & life.