“So then, whenever we have an opportunity, let us do good to all people, and especially to those who belong to the family of faith” (Galatians 6:10, New English Translation).
November 13 of each year is celebrated as World Kindness Day. Although it has “world” in the title, only certain countries recognize it and there’s no particular way in which it is celebrated. Perhaps that’s because there are so many ways to show kindness. The holiday season, now approaching, seems to elicit feelings of kindness and generosity in many people, but I don’t believe it can be confined to just one day or one season of the year.
So, what exactly is kindness?
The dictionary defines kindness as “the state or quality of being kind” (dictionary.com). Not too helpful is it? It doesn’t convey the true feeling of the word. Someone once described kindness as love in action. To me that comes closer to its true meaning. Love inspires kindness, and kindness makes the world a better place for all of us. The smallest action can make the biggest difference.
The Gospels abound with stories of the kindness—the love in action—Jesus demonstrated during His ministry on earth. Wherever He went, He reached out to the sick, the oppressed, the untouchables of society. Because of His compassion and kindness, regardless of their status or circumstance, Jesus serves as the perfect example for us today.
“But when the kindness and the love of God our Savior toward man appeared, not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit” (Titus 3:4-5, NKJV).
God’s kindness (love) is not dependent on how worthy we are; it’s based on how merciful and compassionate He is. Nor can we base extending kindness to others on what we perceive as their worthiness. Does anyone deserve the many blessings and kindnesses that come our way in life?
After meditating on what true kindness is, I then considered the greatest act of kindness I’d received. Was it the unexpected letter of encouragement when going through a difficult situation? Or perhaps the very generous housewarming gift from a friend? Or when my mom sacrificially helped me fulfill what seemed an impossible dream? All of these things were appreciated and wonderful, but none ranks as the greatest.
The greatest loving kindness ever shown me was by Jesus Christ. He was the only one kind enough to take my sins upon Himself and die in my place. Someone once said, “Kindness is showing someone they matter.” Jesus did that for me! When He gave His life on the cross—the greatest expression of love in action—He demonstrated how much I mattered to Him.
“The LORD appeared to us in the past, saying: ‘I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness’” (Jeremiah 31:3, NIV).
God’s great loving kindness causes me to ask how I can emulate this kindness to others. I can’t die for them—He already has—but I can tell them about the One whose love transcends anything they can imagine. I can tell them how much they matter to God.
Prayer: Thank You, Lord, for the greatest act of love, mercy, and kindness ever shown. Help me to testify of Your love in action to everyone I meet.