Do you know what kindness is? It is love in action. It is humility and selflessness and opening our eyes to the needs of others. Kindness gives love it's hands and feet. Love is a feeling, an emotion deep within. Kindness is the outflow of love. You have heard it said, that love is a verb, that love is not love without acts that show that love. True, but it is a verb that needs a companion to give it any meaning. Like the verb 'am', as in "I am". That doesn't mean much unless there is a qualifier with it. I am ... happy. I am... sad. I am... going. So it is with love and kindness. Kindness is the companion to love. Love gets all the glory, because it is big and often so grandiose. Kindness is small, selfless, expecting nothing in return, often done without wanting any acknowledgement.
I want you to think for a moment about the kindest thing someone has ever done for you.
Really stop and go into the recesses of your memory. What is the kindest thing anyone has ever done for you?
My husband when asked that question said that is was when our youngest son dug the grave in our pasture to bury our beloved family pet. My husband and I had been with our beloved dog - Scooter- when he died. We knew we would take him home and bury him in the pasture, though my husband was really not looking forward to doing that. We got home, and our youngest son was out in the pasture with shovel in hand, having already dug the grave. My husband cried when he saw that. A simple act of digging a grave for a pet in a pasture is what he recalls as the kindest thing ever done for him.
For me, it was someone doing my laundry. I had been out of state, 'living' at a hospital, during a scary life threatening illness my mother was experiencing. After about a week, I came in about midnight to my mother's empty house, walked in my bedroom, and there lay a weeks worth of dirty clothes all washed, folded, and some even pressed. I cried. It was just what I needed and I don't mean just the clean clothes. I mean the kindness of the neighbor who sensed a need and gave her time and energy for me.
In both cases, the kindness was done without asking, and without any mention of the need.
And in both cases, the kindness spoke volumes to the souls of the recipient. That is the power of kindness. It says to the recipient, 'You matter, I care about you." There are times, when we all need to know that from our fellow man. And a simple, small gesture, a quiet little kindness reaches in to our soul, wraps around us, and fills us with love and hope.
This is what Jesus did.
- He showed kindness to the woman at the well, who was a despised Samaritan, the woman with a past, the woman who needed love and hope. He showed kindness by spending time with her, sitting and talking, acknowledging her sins, yet showing compassion and offering her that living water.
- He showed kindness to Zaccheus, the wealthy yet unliked little tax collector. Jesus showed kindness first, by simply stopping and noticing him in that tree. And then by telling him, "Hey Zaccheus, I want to come spend time with you, to eat with you." To one unliked, and looked down upon for his profession, that must have filled him with joy.
- He showed kindness to the leprous man, the one scorned by society, cast out, hideous to look at. Jesus touched him. Purposefully and intentionally. That act alone must have meant so much to the leper. To actually feel the touch of another. He had probably not felt a human touch in a very long time. One avoided all contact with lepers, and certainly one would never touch one, or risk getting the hideous disease. So no one would touch the leper. But Jesus did. Jesus could have healed him with just the power of His words, but He touched the leper. That is kindness.
Simple acts of kindness. Simple but not random. Random is defined as having no specific pattern, purpose or objective. Were Jesus' acts of kindness random, without purpose or objective? Not hardly. I believe our Lord purposed and was intentional in kindness. I don't believe He left anything to 'chance', or randomness. And neither should we.
Ephesians 4: 32 is a command we are given. A command is not something we leave to chance or random moments. Commands are something we, with intent, choose to follow.
"And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has done for you."
Colossians 3: 12-13 tells us to purposefully, with intent, put on attributes of Christ. Just like we reach into our closets daily and put on clothing- ( usually much purposeful thought goes into our clothing choices!) - we also need to purposefully, with intent, put on these Christ like attributes.
"And so, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience, bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you."
There is nothing random about this. We are to put on kindness daily, like we put on our clothes daily. We should follow Christ with intention and purpose each day. There should be nothing random in our walk with Christ. Our intent should be to serve Him, follow Him, and live for Him. And in doing so, we will put love into action, and show kindness. Not the random kind, but the purposeful kind.
Do you know there is actually a random act of kindness day? It's November 13. And there is a random act of kindness week - this next year it is February 10-16. Seems kind of crazy to me. Don't get me wrong... it is good to stress kindness and focus on it, but I am for a new movement. I am for canceling out the the word random in acts of kindness and replacing it with the word purposeful.
So let's have some Purposeful Acts of Kindness. Let's PAK some love every day.