Posts Tagged ‘random acts of kindness’

Apparently, there are at least three tools for breaking the potency of bitterness, anger and slander that grieve the Holy Spirit (and others): kindness, compassion and forgiveness. And in fact, I believe it’s the marriage of kindness and compassion that makes forgiveness possible.

Ephesians 4:32
Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.

Too often, we think of a kindness as polite niceties. Instead, I think it’s a choice to act in a way that is independent of the circumstances. Kindness is a habit, well-formed.

I’ve been reading a 2010 book by N.T. [Tom] Wright called “After You Believe” in which the good professor is putting forth the foundations for virtue and thereby, character. In the early chapters, he talks about the natural response to circumstances as being the evidence of virtue. And isn’t kindness one of these? We shouldn’t have to think about being kind.

The power of kindness became so popular at one point, there were bumper stickers and a Foundation advocating more kindness, just for the heck of it. And yet, it’s not really the norm for us.

And compassion? This requires an awareness of Other in a specific way. To express compassion, we must see, hear, and feel something of the Other. Without a relationship of some kind, I believe it’s only kindness. Compassion is the next level and implies a doing or a response to remedy the situation.

If kindness is touching someone’s hand, then compassion is putting something in the hand.

The two together create the perfect environment for forgiveness.

The father who forgives the drunk driver who killed his daughter, found compassion and kindness first. I met Jeffrey Vetter and the young man, Michael Jacoby, who drove the car.

Forgiveness must be fueled with something, and is not efficacious with words alone. The heart must be engaged because it is the heart that is healed.
(Fast Day 1)

Read Full Post »

Acts 4:9a
“…we are being called to account today for an act of kindness shown to a cripple and are asked how he was healed,…” [Peter]

I love this! Peter and John had just brokered a complete healing of a guy who was crippled from birth through faith and the name of Jesus. And how does he reference this miracle: an act of kindness!

It’s a moment of empathy and a desire to make things better. An act of kindness begins within one’s own heart and mind. But we have to “see” the need before we can act, kindly or otherwise.

Many years ago (back in 1993), the pop culture phenomenon spread faster than a virus: random acts of kindness. The simplicity of it made it easy to remember and even accomplish. People everywhere were stepping up to both small and large expressions of kindness. Everyone seemed to know, inherently, what kindness might look like.

The best part of it is the personal nature of those random acts. An act is particularly kind if it comes from a person’s heart. My daughter can ruin an act of kindness in one quick stroke. How? When she demands one of me: “Bring me a surprise from Chicago when you go,” or “Buy me this or that for my birthday,” or “Give me a surprise party.” An act of kindness cannot be demanded (or even suggested for that matter). It becomes something else. When I ask my kids to clean their rooms and they do it (on occasion), that’s not kindness, that’s just cooperation or obedience.

The healing of the crippled man by Peter and John was their first big act of kindness post-resurrection. Jesus didn’t tell them what to do, when to do it, or where. This act came from within. They just knew it was the right moment.

I think it’s time to resurrect conscious acts of kindness, meet a need, broker a healing, show love.

Read Full Post »

%d bloggers like this: