Show up, lean in, and be intentionally kind.
Kindness is love in action. It shapes the relationships between us and builds a strong foundation of deeply-caring and faith-enriched communities.
Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. (Colossians 3:12)
Seek to cultivate a buoyant, joyous sense of the crowded kindnesses of God in your daily life. Alexander Maclaren
Pay attention to the people right in front of you. Kindness is love in action. It’s a heart of gentleness, generosity, and compassion intentionally poured out one precious life at a time.
Be kind to one another, tenderhearted… (Ephesians 4:32)
Intentional kindness is radical and revolutionary, proof of the Holy Spirit in us. What the Spirit breathes into us – the wonder of Jesus’ love – radiates through us.
Mother Teresa said, “Kind words can be short and easy to speak, but their echoes are truly endless.”
Kindness draws us deeper into Jesus with every heartbeat and every intentional step. It is His love that spills out in our kindness toward one another.
Intentional kindness is deeply needed in our world today and it is a precious gift.
“As we intentionally show kindness each day, may we shine the light of Christ to a dying world in need of a savior, a generation in need of love and grace.” (Olivia Forton)
CREATIVE WAYS TO SERVE AND LOVE OTHERS
Kindness is love in action. It’s paying attention to the people right in front of you. It’s a heart of gentleness, generosity, and compassion intentionally poured out one precious life at a time.
KINDNESS IS SELFLESS AND SACRIFICIAL
At its core, kindness is selfless and sacrificial. It is leaning deeper into Jesus, listening for His still small voice, then stepping out in courageous faith as He leads, learning to care for and love one another deeply from the heart.
Kindness is a fruit of the Spirit and an essential ingredient of a vibrant and growing faith.
Intentional Kindness is the love of God touching hearts and lives through us in:
How to Embrace Intentional Kindness
Don’t overthink your acts of Intentional Kindness. Even the smallest, servant-hearted act of love (our simple loaves and fish) can be used by God to effect greater change than we may ever know this side of Heaven.
- Speak a word of encouragement. (1 Thessalonians 5:11)
- Send a #PenToPaper note to a friend or loved one.
- Comfort someone who is sick or injured. (Luke 10:30-35)
- Genuinely thank the people in your life today.
- Bring good news to others. (Proverbs 25:25)
- Pray for someone — then call, email, or text them and let them know.
- Send a friend a favorite photo of the two of you together and a note about your memories of that time.
- Cancel a debt. (Matthew 18:23-27)
- Leave a sticky note for a loved one to find.
- Forgive someone. (Ephesians 4:32)
- Write a letter to a family member telling them how much they mean to you.
- Hug someone.
- Pray for those who mistreat you. (Luke 6:27-28)
- Write a review for your favorite restaurant or small business.
- Pay for the car behind you in the drive-thru.
- Carry a $5 or $10 gift card with you and give it to someone who needs a little encouragement.
- Donate, volunteer, or raise awareness for a charity about which you’re passionate.
- Write a thank-you note to your favorite doctor, nurse, or caregiver.
STEPPING IN – FIVE MINUTES AT A TIME
Slow down. Pause. Breathe.
For the next week, set aside five minutes a day to recount the faithful generosity of God in your life.
- What am I grateful for right now?
- Who am I grateful for right now?
- How has God blessed me today?
- How can I be “the living expression of God’s kindness” (Mother Teresa) to someone today?
- What intentional kindness can I plan for tomorrow, this week, or this month?
GOING DEEPER – BEGIN A JOURNAL OF INTENTIONAL KINDNESS
Olivia Forton wrote, “Kindness is selfless, compassionate, and merciful, a choice, and a continual, intentional practice.”
Explore these questions:
- What words or actions come to mind when you think about kindness?
- What is the kindest thing someone has ever done for you? How did it make you feel?
- How have you experienced or expressed the “buoyant, joyous … crowded kindnesses” of God?
“Kindness matters in every step of our faith.” (Julie Pfeifer)
STARTING A KINDNESS JOURNAL – WHAT TO WRITE ABOUT
- an act of kindness you remember
- an act of kindness you gave
- an act of kindness you observed
- an act of kindness you would like to do
- a time you weren’t kind
- a time you felt the Holy Spirit’s nudge to be kind, but let the opportunity pass by
- an inspiring kindness quote
- a kind thought (Consider starting a journal page for Kind Thoughts About Others; then as the Spirit prompts, write them in a note, send them in a text, or type them in an email as an act of intentional kindness.)
- Explore the differences between random and intentional acts of kindness
- Begin a list of life-changing acts of kindness in our world
- Begin a list of the most powerful acts of authentic kindness you have ever experienced
G.K. Chesterton wrote, “If I can put one touch of rosy sunset into the life of any man or woman, I shall feel that I have worked with God.”
A century later, missionary Jim Elliot wrote to his wife Elisabeth, “Amy Carmichael writes of little joys, like flowers springing up by the path, unnoticed except by those who are looking for them. . . . a quietly sinking sun, a friendly dog, a ready smile.”
Centuries earlier, Sophocles wrote, “Kindness gives birth to kindness.”
Kindness matters, for kindness changes the world one precious life at a time.
PRESSING ON – INTENTIONAL KINDNESS
Biblical kindness is radical, in tune, flexible, intentional, and perfectly fitted for its purpose.
Libby Farmen says, “Kindness is acting in a way that benefits others – often requiring sacrifice on our part.”
Rusty Foerger brings it home: “ … kindness is costly. To be kind is to be intentionally gentle, benevolent, and benign. It is to be actively gracious despite ingratitude. It is to offer goodness despite the possibility of being taken advantage of. It is to offer hospitality to the inhospitable … Kindness is self-giving; and … it is costly.”
BE KIND AND COMPASSIONATE TO ONE ANOTHER
“Authentic, Gospel-infused kindness demands that we link our well-being to the well-being of others, even the most distant-to-us and different-than-us others.” (Adam Phillips and Barbara Taylor)
CHRESTOS KINDNESS MIGHT BE A FEW WELL-CHOSEN WORDS
“A specific act of kindness doesn’t have to be a sweeping gesture.” (Suzanne Hadley Gosselin)
Chrestos means kindness, goodness, loving affection, sympathy, friendliness, patience, pleasantness, gentleness, and goodness.
Chrestos kindness shines through in the way a person speaks and acts.
It also means “fit for use in a kind, good, benevolent, worthy, useful, virtuous, and pleasant manner.”
In Matthew 11: 30, Christ’s yoke is called chrestos, “easy,” meaning it’s well-fitting and does not chafe.
In Luke 5:39, chrestos is used to describe wine as mellow, well-aged, and pleasingly mild.
12 KIND THINGS TO SAY:
- “I’m here for you.”
- “You are in my thoughts and prayers.”
- “This stinks.” (Sometimes validating someone’s pain is all that’s needed.)
- “Count me in.” (Be specific about how you’re able to help.)
- “You are not alone.” “We’re in this together.”
- “What day works for a visit? What time? What can I bring?”
- “I love you.”
- “Don’t feel guilty about canceling plans at the last minute. There’s no judgment here ever.”
- “I’m here if/when you need to talk.”
- “Do you want company the day you get your test results? I’ll wait with you.”
- “What do you wish others understood about your illness?”
- Share a little light-hearted humor.
CHRESTOS KINDNESS MIGHT BE A WELL-TIMED ACT OF SERVICE
- Hold the door for someone who has their hands full.
- Wave hello and smile at a child.
- Send a thinking-of-you note.
- Pray for the last person who texted you.
- Bring your neighbor’s trash cans up from the street.
- Pay for the person behind you in the check-out line.
- Leave a generous tip.
- Use people’s names when you talk to them.
- Make eye contact with the cashier.
- Give a bottle of water to your mail carrier, a delivery driver, or the flagman of a road construction crew.
- Write an encouraging review for a local artisan or small business you love.
- Bake something delectable and surprise your neighbor with a home-baked treat.
INTENTIONAL KINDNESS • HOW TO BRIGHTEN A DAY
30 Creative Ways
Pause. Seek. Notice.
Allow yourself to be inconvenienced by the will of God. Then take the first intentional step forward and see what He will do.
How to Brighten a Day with Intentional Kindness
- Pray about who you can touch with intentional kindness today.
- Read through the 30 Creative Ways for His inspiration about what kindness you can offer.
- Print out the Intentional Kindness Gift Tags and cut them apart.
- Be intentionally kind and leave someone an Intentional Kindness tag. Consider adding a short note on the back, “You were on my heart today.”
- Day by day, continue to listen for God’s prompts and respond as you sense an intentional kindness opportunity.
- Encourage your children, grandchildren, friends, and family to extend kindness to brighten a day.
- Print out Bite-Sized Kindness for Kids
Intentional Kindness Gift Tags
INTENTIONAL KINDNESS POSTS
To love without labels we must take the time to talk to others and ask questions. Search for that deep treasure within the one who is hurting and longing for a touch of kindness and fellowship.
I call my hobby “crocheting with a purpose” because when I crochet something as a gift, I pray for the recipient. With every stitch, I pray.
Choose love when your heart feels least like doing so. Choose love. Get to know your heart intimately and let love be the antidote to every bit of ugly that beats through it.
Jesus is the best at being kind. And He loves it when we're kind. How could you share the kindness of Jesus today? How does it make you feel to be kind? How does it make those around you feel when you are kind?
The Kindness Challenge: Thirty Days to Improve Any Relationship
Think of your toughest relationship. Now, think of a relationship that is good but could be great. Think of a group of people that drives you nuts. You want to show more kindness and generosity, but sometimes you’re just tired, stretched, and frustrated. Besides, would small actions make that big a difference? Yes!