Ten and half years ago I was leaving the mall in a downpour. I stood outside under the covering waiting while my husband went to get the car (he’s sweet that way!). As I waited for him, a woman came out of the store and began to pop up her umbrella. She looked over at me, and thinking that I was waiting out the rainstorm, she asked if she could walk me to my car under her umbrella. I was so touched by her kindness! That kind of gesture is truly unusual. Here it is ten years later and I still remember that kindness she offered to do for me.
What is kindness? Let’s define it –
Kindness – Acts that show others the love of God.
Ephesians 4:32 – Be ye kind one to another…
The character trait of kindness is seen many times in the Scriptures. I think of David in II Samuel 9, as he seeks a way to show kindness for any of the family of his now deceased friend, Jonathan. After learning about Jonathan’s crippled son, Mephibosheth, David brings him to the palace to live with him. In verse seven it says, And David said unto him, Fear not: for I will surely shew thee kindness for Jonathan thy father’s sake, and will restore thee all the land of Saul thy father; and thou shalt eat bread at my table continually.
Kindness is a character trait that should be a part of our every day lives as believers. It takes the first trait we talked about, attentiveness, to demonstrate kindness to others. Otherwise, how will we even know that there is a need for kindness at that particular moment?
I think it would do us well to think of all the places we find ourselves in a day and ask: “How can I show kindness in each of those places?
Just yesterday I heard of children, who saw a man at a restaurant spill his beverage, and go over immediately to help clean it up. The man was so touched by their kindness that he bought them all ice cream! That kind of action is rare – most would just look on and pity the poor man.
Hold a door open for someone approaching. Take the cart back to the cart corral for an older woman. Allow a driver to turn into the traffic in front of you. Greet the store clerk and be friendly with her as she checks out your groceries.
At a restaurant:
We hear so often that the Sunday crowd at a restaurant is the most difficult crowd to serve. This ought not to be so! We should be the most patient, the most friendly, and the kindest people our waiter or waitress deals with all day! Do we deserve a perfect meal served the way we ordered it and in the time we think it should be delivered? I’m afraid not. We deserve hell, but we get heaven! While we’re on our way there, shouldn’t we be kind to others in our path?
Thank the waiter for the refill. Ask sweetly for the ketchup he forgot. Leave a generous tip (especially if you leave a tract!).
Often it’s easier to be kind to strangers than to the people that we call family. Are you large-hearted to your mate and your children? Do you speak to them in a tone that denotes love, or are you curt and sharp-toned with them? If others could watch what goes on inside our houses, would they see the love of Christ being demonstrated all day long?
Greet visitors. Be friendly with everyone – not just your circle.
The story is told of a second year nursing student whose professor gave the class a quiz. This particular student breezed through the questions until she read the last one: “What is the first name of the woman who cleans the school?” Surely this was a joke. She had seen the cleaning woman several times, but how would she know her name? She handed in her paper, leaving the last question blank. Before the class ended, one student asked if the last question would count toward our grade. “Absolutely,” the professor said. “In your careers, you will meet many people. All are significant. They deserve your attention and care, even if all you do is smile and say hello.”She’s never forgotten that lesson. She also learned her name was Dorothy.
Do you know the names of the new families that have joined your church recently? Have you introduced yourself? Hmmm, would we pass the “kindness quiz”?
Show concern for the needs of others and do acts of kindness as the Lord prompts you. Solomon tells us in Proverbs to “do good to him to whom it is due when it is the power of thy hand to do it.”
Why is developing traits like kindness so important? They will make up your reputation – that which others know of you. Charles Spurgeon puts it this way: “A good character is the best tombstone. Those who loved you and were helped by you will remember you when forget-me-nots have withered. Carve your name on hearts, not on marble.” You can do that today simply by demonstrating kindness to others. Long after that rain storm has passed, I still remember the kind lady at the mall. May others remember me in such a way that it brings a smile to their face.
Is there a gesture of kindness that someone has done for you that you still remember? I’d love to hear about it.