"The worldly man treats certain people kindly because he 'likes' them: the Christian, trying to treat everyone kindly, finds himself liking more and more people as he goes on – including people he could not even have imagined himself liking at the beginning." ~ C.S. Lewis
"If you want to be holy, be kind." ~ Frederick Buechner
"Kindness is the one thing you'll never have to take back" — A life lesson I learned from the kindest man I have ever known ~ my dad.
Sounds a lot like the great Apostle Paul's admonition to every Christian. "Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you." Ephesians 4:32 ESV
Strong's Concordance defines being "kind" by describing what it is not. Kind is the opposite of "harsh, hard, sharp and bitter" and is synonymous with being gracious, pleasant and good.
What's interesting is that both Paul and Peter use this same Greek word (chrestos) to describe characteristics of God;
". . . God's kindness (chrestos) is meant to lead you to repentance . . ." Romans 2:4 ESV
"If indeed you have tasted that the Lord is good (chrestos)." 1 Peter 2:3 ESV
To the point – inward godliness is always manifested by outward kindness.
Could that have been what Jesus meant when He declared, "The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good . . ."? Luke 6:45 ESV
Often I have asked myself what it was about my dad that moved nearly everyone who met him to love him. Undoubtedly, it was the "good treasure" overflowing from his heart.
When someone needed to talk, he listened. He was gentle in his actions and his words. In his presence you felt like you were the most important person in his world.
Notice the words of Apostle John, "Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth." 1 John 3:18 ESV. "Talk the talk" and "walk the walk."
Too often the brokenness in life has an incredible way of bringing out the worst in us. But it also has an uncanny way of bringing out our best. It is often in the midst of tragedy, pain and loss that we see the greatest acts of kindness.
After covering the tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut, NBC News' Ann Curry wondered what could be done to ease the national suffering over the loss of 26 children and teachers at Sandy Hook Elementary. Why not, she tweeted, commit to doing one act of kindness for every child and teacher whose lives were tragically taken?
One class of 8 and 9-year-old students in Texas heard about the grace-filled idea and ran with it. By the end of the week they had completed over 100 "random acts of kindness" for other teachers, students, parents, siblings and others . . . A hug; A smile; Meeting someone new at recess and play together; Saying "thank you"; Picking up some trash; Sounds a lot like "overcoming evil with good" (Romans 12:21 ESV) doesn't it?
A closing thought – "Kindness is the one thing you'll never have to take back". Today, practice some "random acts of kindness".
It will turn your life, and maybe someone else's, around.