On my desk, I have a poster that gives me a daily reminder to think of others. It reads, “Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.” In the busyness of our daily lives, we tend to focus so much on our immense workload, a long list of priorities, personal stresses and general battles, that we easily forget that our neighbours are in the same boat. For this very reason, I believe our world could do with a little more kindness.
THE KINDNESS AWARD: Nkhosikho Mbele
Kindness is not one of the personality traits that will make anyone famous, yet it goes a long way in changing the circumstances of ordinary people like you and I. Very seldom will the media pick up on stories of kindness, unless they are wanting to fulfil their own agenda. Politicians, musicians, actresses and actors are not usually congratulated for their rare acts of kindness, perhaps because these stories don’t sell tabloids.
However, there are some incredible stories out there. Consider the recent kind act of Nkhosikho Mbele, the petrol attendant, who gave R100 to help out a customer who had left her bank card at home. If you pause for a minute of reflection, I am certain you would be able to think of a friend or colleague who is exceptionally kind. Their lives are unselfish and always centred on the ‘other’ people around them and there is no other way to describe them other than “KIND.” These are the real-life people and genuine stories we should celebrate because kindness can be life-changing.
CHANGING THE WORLD THROUGH KINDNESS
I came across this lovely quote a few weeks back that speaks about kindness: “Kindness makes a person attractive. If you would win the world, melt it, do not hammer it.” – Alexander Maclaren.
Some people believe that changing the world, by force, is the only way to do it, but we can change the world by having a kind heart. From a Christian perspective, I am convinced that we also show ourselves to be disciples of Jesus, when we live out of a heart of kindness. The Apostle Paul alluded to this when he wrote:
“By our purity, knowledge, patience, and kindness we have shown ourselves to be God’s servants—by the Holy Spirit, by our true love…” (2 Corinthians 6:6).
He also spoke about the centricity of kindness in our Christian gatherings. In his famous 1 Corinthians 13 passage, Paul writes: ‘Love is Patient, Love is Kind.’ It is the second character trait in a long list of qualities that should mark the life of a Christian. If we have a love that reaches out to the ‘other’, then we certainly can reveal this through acts of kindness. Simply put – kindness is the fruit of God’s Spirit working in our lives (Galatians 5).
THE KINDNESS OF GOD
Our kindness should always be influenced by our Saviour, who is indeed kind and gracious. David reflected on God’s mercy and kindness when he penned these words: “But you, O Lord, are a merciful and loving God, always patient, always kind and faithful” (Psalm 86:15).
Isaiah add further comment on this when he prayed: “I will tell of the kindnesses of the Lord, the deeds for which he is to be praised, according to all the Lord has done for us— yes, the many good things he has done for Israel, according to his compassion and many kindnesses” (Isaiah 63:7).
USE THE POWER OF KINDNESS
It is clear to see that kindness is something we should all be practising. At this point in my life, I am yet to hear anyone complain about someone being too kind! We could all do with a little more kindness in our lives!
The remarkable thing about kindness is its simplicity. Any person can be kind.
We don’t have to be qualified in order to be kind.
Or need any formal education or a theology degree in order to be kind.
We don’t need to be old or young, male or female, black or white.
Or don’t even need to speak any particular language, or know thousands of people – we can simply be kind where-ever we find ourselves.
And so, as you take your place in the world today I encourage you to look out for opportunities to be kind. Don’t over-analyse anything, just simply be kind and see what difference it can make!