We live in a world where kindness can totally be underrated. It can be perceived as weakness, or as a result of insecurity. Thankfully, Christianity teaches the opposite. Take a look at what St. Paul tells us to do in Colossians 3:12-14:
“Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do. But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection.”
If I had to sum up Christianity in one word, I would pick LOVE. It is evident that we are called to love one another. The scripture is filled with God’s love for us, and the love we should have towards Him and others. The concept of love is mentioned multiple times in the Bible, 504 times to be exact (in the New King James Version). If you want to understand what Christian love really looks like, go read 1 Corinthians 13.
If you asked me how to act out this Christian love, the first thing that comes to mind is kindness. Of course there are multiple other ways to also show love, like what is mentioned above in Colossians 3 for starters, but kindness is key. Kindness is love in action, and actions speak louder than words.
I’ll never forget on one of my missions trips to Africa the kindness the people there showed me. During one of the house visits we (the missionary group) did, the locals surprised us with a sack of fruits and vegetables. I’m not talking about a small bag, imagine a large potato sack filled with fresh produce. Here we were, a group of well-off Americans who did not need anything, but these simple and loving people gave in abundance from the little they had. Their simple act of kindness really was evidence of the Christian love they had.
I recently stumbled upon Candace Cameron Bure’s book “Kind is the New Classy.” I enjoyed it so much that I have to share its message with you! I love when people who are popular in the secular world aim to glorify God in their personal life, and that is exactly what Candance strives to do. She stands firm behind her Christian faith, and this book is evidence of that. It’s filled with scriptural messages and simple ideas we can all practice to fill our life with kindness. So I highly recommend you go read (or listen to) it!
Candace Cameron Bure writes, “Kindness isn’t looking to climb the social ladder, win a debate, or gain something from the relationship. Rather kindness seeks to give without thought or condition of return. A one size fits all policy toward all people in the recognition that all people are made in the image of God.”
If we really saw God in everyone we encountered, wouldn’t we treat them with the uttermost love and kindness? Sometimes we are thrown off by people’s unkind attitude or actions, but regardless we must show kindness. Let's remember this important point, God created us in His image. He wants us all to be His children and loves us unconditionally. Some of us might have lost our way, some might want to have nothing to do with Him, and some are struggling to find Him. So who are we to judge others and treat them with anything less than kindness.
I’m sure you’ve heard the golden rule, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you". But did you know that was actually Biblical? Luke 6:31 says, “And just as you want men to do to you, you also do to them likewise.” A similar verse can be also found in Matthew 7:12.
I’m always flabbergasted when I see negative and hurtful comments posted on social media, especially when the person receiving them is trying to inspire others. In a reality where blatant insults are often circulating on social media, I challenge you to be that light and always show kindness. Let us all remember the popular motto, “If you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say anything at all.”
Here are a few ways we can all practice kindness:
Smile to others and also yourself. You send your brain positive signals when you smile. Your facial expressions definitely affect how you feel. Also, a simple smile to a stranger or a friend can go a long way. I like to think that smiling is contagious.
2. Reach Out
Reach out to a friend or even someone you haven’t connected with in a while to let them know you’re thinking about them. See if they need anything. A small gesture like this can really make someone’s day.
3. Go the Extra Mile
When you are asked to do something, go above and beyond and your kindness will shine through. It will make the other person feel loved and cherished. This is also a Biblical concept. “And whoever compels you to go one mile, go with him two.” (Matthew 5:41)
4. Give Compliments
If you see someone doing good, then compliment them. If you recognize someone’s beauty and appreciate God’s creativity in them, then tell them. If you see someone trying to put themselves out there in a positive way, encourage them. I do have to stop for a second and thank all of you who have reached out to me about this blog and thanked me, encouraged me, or even shared your story with me. Your encouragement means the world!
5. Accept Compliments
We can act as humble as we want, but the truth is we all love to receive a compliment. Don’t be afraid to take a compliment, or fear that it might make you egotistical or conceited. When your acts of kindness result in compliments, look at it as God is reassuring you that you are doing the right thing. Or even if someone compliments the way you look, don’t try to deflect and point out your flaws. It's courteous to humbly take the compliment and just say thank you.
Do all these things with love, and without expecting anything in return. Make a conscious decision to practice kindness. Treat everyone you encounter with kindness, love and grace. Not only will you be sending positive vibes out into a world that could really use it, but you might even notice a positive difference in the way you feel.
“Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit,
but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself.”