Random acts of kindness and senseless acts of beauty. These words were found scrawled on a placemat in California in 1982. Even though this may be the start of this expression, the Bible is clear on acts of charity. Is there a difference between kindness and charity? Does tithing to the church count? Does passing off your cart to someone at Aldi without retrieving your 25 cents matter? Kindness is the act of doing something for another person without expecting pay back. Your satisfaction will come from the kindness.
Kind works are not new. In Ephesians 2:10 we learn that God created Jesus to carry out good works, so we could walk with them. Perhaps this means we are meant to commit Godly acts of kindness. Our acts of kindness maybe random, but God’s acts come from his own heart.
“For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.” Matthew 25:35,36
We seem to become a more anxious and defensive society as we cling to our stuff. We may be suspicious of strangers, perhaps expecting an enemy to appear or expecting harm at any moment.
“If we are to become children of God, we have to go against the grain and reach out to others in compassion, patience, and service.” Father Andrew Apostoli CFR (Walk Humbly With Your God)
There are benefits of being kind. We can “build up” our kindness “muscle.” And teach by example. Those around us are more likely to “pay it forward.” Our one deed may be seen by many and cause a domino effect of kindness. This “helpers high” is like a “runners high” and elevates our mood.
Simply witnessing acts of kindness helps lower our blood pressure and improve our overall health. Self-esteem and optimism can help us feel calmer and lighten depression. They may replace anxiety or self-worth. People who donate money or time to charitable organizations tend to experience more happiness and fewer aches and pains. Those over 55 years who volunteer for two or more organizations have an impressive 44% lower likelihood of dying early. Combine this with exercise and good nutrition along with other good habits and we can become more cheerful!
Even if you can only perform one act of kindness, do it. Hold a door open for someone with their arms loaded. Carry shopping to someone’s car for them. Smile more often, you’ll be sharing the grace of God. The ways in which one can show kindness are endless. Every action you take affects the life of someone around you.
“Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience.” Colossians 3:12