EXERCISING LOVING-KINDNESS CAN CHANGE THE WORLD
Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud. (1 Corinthians 13:4)
I am convinced that we could make the world a better place if we would simply focus on one aspect of love. It would change our marriages and families, offices and workplaces, classrooms and stores, our streets and sidewalks, and perhaps even our government.
The Greek verb behind the word “kind” means to do something beneficial, pleasant, or good for someone else. It conveys activity that, at first glance, isn’t especially profound or world-changing. Exercising kindness is doing something nice for someone else. It’s offering a word of encouragement, or helping someone carry a heavy box. Kindness is also giving a birthday card, or showing up at work with a person’s favorite pastry (as happened to me a few days ago).
Love, from a Biblical perspective, isn’t so much a matter of feelings as it is treating people in a particular way — and kindness stands at the center of this particularity.
LOVING-KINDNESS CAN CHANGE THE WORLD
Why am I convinced that loving people through kindness could change the world? There are several reasons.
First, extending kindness isn’t particularly difficult. It does require some moments of thought and sometimes some advance planning, but kindness is easily given. We all can do it, many times a day.
Second, kindness can really make a difference to the recipient. Yesterday, my teenage daughter walked over to me and for no apparent reason gave me a hug and kiss, saying, “I love you, Daddy.” I felt fantastic, lighter than air. Even today, I’m still delighting in my daughter’s simple act of kindness. Just think of the potential you have, to touch the hearts of many people through being kind to them.
Third, kindness breeds kindness. When someone does something special for me, not only do I feel happy, but I also find myself wanting to do the same for somebody else. Moreover, when I do something kind for someone, I feel good, and I want to do it again.
Fourth, kindness demonstrates the reality of the Gospel. When you extend yourself to care for another, even if your gesture is relatively small, it nevertheless mirrors God’s love for us in Jesus Christ. By treating people with kindness, we will help them—and the world—to experience the love of God and to be open to hearing the good news of God’s saving activity through Christ.
Lord, sometimes love is complicated and costly. Sometimes we don’t know exactly how to love someone — and sometimes love requires sacrifice, even the sacrifice of our lives.
Love can also be expressed simply, through acts of kindness. This sort of love doesn’t usually take much thought or effort, though it does require that we think about the people around us and their needs. Your love gives us the power to love others through kindness, each and every day.
Help me, dear Lord, to be a kind person. Give me eyes to see how I can offer kindness to my colleagues, family members and neighbors. Help me not to be so preoccupied with myself and my responsibilities that I fail to love through basic acts of kindness.
Even today, Lord, may Your Spirit help me to be kind to the people in my life. To You be all the glory, Amen.
QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION:
- How have you been the recipient of kindness recently?
- In what ways could you be kind to others today?
- What might help you to extend loving-kindness on a regular basis?
Love That Could Make the World a Better Place First published on September 28, 2010 by The High Calling. Theology of Work Project Online Materials by The High Calling are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
Rev. Mark D. Roberts
Rev. Dr. Mark D. Roberts is a pastor, author, retreat leader, speaker, and blogger. Since October 2007, he has been the Senior Director and Scholar-in-Residence for Laity Lodge, a multifaceted ministry in the Hill Country of Texas. For sixteen years prior to that, he was the Senior Pastor of Irvine Presbyterian Church in Irvine, California. Mark served on the staff of the First Presbyterian Church of Hollywood as Associate Pastor of Education preceding his time in Irvine.
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.