“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control”—Galatians 5:22-23(NIV).
Did you know you have the power to turn someone’s day around? And, in the process, you’ll benefit, too. It’s a win-win situation.
Ask yourself: am I nice or kind? There’s a difference. People considered nice are polite. Kindness goes deeper. For example, a nice person can ask, “Are you hungry?”
Kindness leads a person to provide food for someone without even asking. Simple acts of kindness show others you care and reveal they aren’t alone in this world.
State Trooper Takes Kindness to Heart
An article about a New York State Trooper, Christ Mahoney, caught my attention. Mahoney, who strives to serve and protect others each day, doesn’t seek recognition. Recently, though, a conversation with a homeless man drew attention.
On duty one day, Mahoney stopped at a Rochester gas station. While there, he noticed a man toting several heavy bags. Striking up a conversation, the trooper learned the man was homeless and carried all his belongings on his back. When Mahoney asked the stranger when he’d last eaten, he learned the man’s only sustenance that day was a donut.
The trooper didn’t realize when he offered to buy the man a meal another customer would take a photo of his kindness. He certainly never expected it to go viral. It did. Now, Mahoney encourages more people to do kind things for others.
The Most Familiar Act of Kindness in Scripture
When Jesus was asked by an expert in the law about what he must do to inherit eternal life, He replied, “What is written in the law?” The expert continues to challenge Jesus concerning the greatest commandment to “love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind” and the second to “love your neighbor as yourself.” Immediately, the expert asked, “Who counts as a neighbor?”
Jesus responds with the parable of the Good Samaritan. Most of us know the story of the man on his way to Jericho who was attacked by robbers and left for dead on the side of the road. The first two, a priest and then, a Levite, traveling the same road came across the wounded man. However, they ignored him, passing by on the other side of the road.
But, it was a despised Samaritan, traveling on the same route, who showed kindness to the hurting man. He stopped, bandaged his wounds, put him on his donkey and brought him to an inn where he paid the innkeeper to look after him until he returned. Jesus reminded the law expert to go and do likewise.
Jesus Wants Us to Be Kind to One Another
Are we prone to read scripture and then forget His Words as soon as we close the cover? Do we allow our flesh to ignore those in need by giving excuses, like “a lack of time,” to avoid what Jesus has called us to do?
I admit to using that excuse sometimes. But, the Holy Spirit’s conviction has also led me to turn my car around and help a homeless person or assist someone while I am on a walk through my neighborhood. Only the Spirit can overcome the flesh.
Praying for strangers as they walk down the side of the road or with them in person after striking up a conversation in a grocery store has become easier for me with nudges from God’s Spirit. British pastor Charles Spurgeon once said, “No man can do me a truer kindness in this world than to pray for me.”
Your Small Acts of Kindness Can Change the World
You don’t need a reason to help people. Did you know one kind word can change someone’s entire day?
Theologian Frederick W. Faber once said, “With the help of grace, the habit of saying kind words is very quickly formed, and when once formed, it is not speedily lost.”
Grace is the answer. God’s grace. He loved us so much He gave His only begotten Son so that we might have life. Jesus was the epitome of kindness. Let us emulate our Savior and seek to be more kind to others. If we want a peace-filled world, we must choose kindness.