words and photos by June Friesen
Random Acts of Kindness is a term that I am sure many if not all of us have heard one time or another. You may even have said it yourself. You may have done or performed actions that are or have been random acts of kindness without even thinking of them as that at the time. If you are like me I do not ever remember hearing about a day set aside to do random acts of kindness. I decided to do a little research and discovered that it was created in Denver, Colorado in 1995 by a nonprofit organization with the name Random Acts of Kindness Foundation. This group was organized to bring more awareness through doing things for others without expecting any return. They have a website as well as a Facebook page where they explain their organization and work projects, they have participated in over the years.
I did some research on kindness as well and there are some quotes from people that I was more familiar with than others. I have always been one who liked AESOP and I certainly believe what he is quoted as saying:
AESOP: “NO ACT OF KINDNESS, NO MATTER HOW SMALL, IS EVER WASTED.”
A second quote I found was by the DALAI LAMA:
“BE KIND WHENEVER POSSIBLE. IT IS ALWAYS POSSIBLE.”
The Scriptures also talk about kindness. Jesus led by His example and practiced kindness to anyone and everyone that He met. This led to trouble with the religious leaders as Jesus also practiced kind acts on the Sabbath and they considered that work – and work was never to be done on the Sabbath. In Matthew 12 we have the record of Jesus healing on the Sabbath – He also did it in the place of worship of the Jewish people:
9-10 When Jesus left the field, he entered their meeting place. There was a man there with a crippled hand. They said to Jesus, “Is it legal to heal on the Sabbath?” They were baiting him. 11-14 He replied, “Is there a person here who, finding one of your lambs fallen into a ravine, wouldn’t, even though it was a Sabbath, pull it out? Surely kindness to people is as legal as kindness to animals!” Then he said to the man, “Hold out your hand.” He held it out and it was healed.
The religious leaders were all about this being actual work; never mind that it was done in their place of worship where they had very detailed rules that needed to be kept.
Ultimately the greatest act of kindness Jesus did was when He died on the cross for the sins of all humanity. Jesus, God’s Son showed ultimate, perfect kindness to humanity after the disobedience of Adam and Eve which affected the whole of the earth’s population.
If we follow the stories about Jesus that are recorded in the Scriptures, I believe that there are numerous ‘random acts of kindness’ shown on a regular basis as He was traveling from place to place and ministering to hundreds/thousands of people. Jesus also told His disciples that they were to do as He did as well, especially as He left this earth.
So we move on in the Scriptures and Paul writes about kindness from time to time. The verse that I learned as a very young child was in Ephesians 4:32 – ‘Be gentle with one another, sensitive. Forgive one another as quickly and thoroughly as God in Christ forgave you.’(The Message). Here it says ‘be gentle’ but when I memorized it many years ago the words I memorized were ‘be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving one another.’ (King James Version) ‘Be gentle’ to me seems to be filled with a peaceful, loving sentiment. So, what are some ways we can practice kindness today?
Over the years some of the random kind things I have done have been: Drop a note in the mail to someone who is lonely, sick, or maybe for no specific reason at all – you were just thinking of them. If you have flowers in your yard pick one and put it in a small container and take it to your neighbor (either set it by the door and ring the doorbell or give it to them in person), take someone a pot of soup (especially elderly people who live alone), invite some elderly widows/widowers over for a meal. Reach out to a neighbor you may not have seen for a while – recently this happened to me and it was over a week and when I saw her, she had been laid up with a foot issue. These are just a few ideas and there are so many more. The thought here is to make sure that others know that they matter, that they are important and someone really does care about them, someone notices they are alone, elderly, missing from their usual spot/space etc. As followers of Jesus, He would and will be pleased as He sees each one of us being His hands, His feet, His eyes, His ears, His voice, etc. in the world today, especially at this time when the world seems so broken down due to so many issues people everywhere are facing.
RANDOM ACTS OF KINDNESS
I see that lonely face with eyes so forlorn –
I stop, I smile, I ask if there is any way I can help;
I hear the weeping, the sobbing
I stop, I offer a tissue, I ask if I can help in any way;
I observe a yard that appears with an overgrown lawn and weeds tall –
I stop, I ask if I may mow their grass and clean the plant beds;
I see a notice that there is a shut-in who is feeling very lonely and forsaken –
It has an address: I chose to send a beautiful card (and if I can afford it, a gift card);
I pass by someone whose eyes catch mine –
I offer a smile and a hello –
If they respond in conversation – I stop and chat a while;
I think of a past friend/neighbor I have not been in contact for a while –
I reach out and let them know I am thinking of them.
Offering a smile,
Offering a hello and taking a minute or two to chat,
Offering to help someone in need whether because of illness, age, or maybe even a local disaster,
Offering to cook meals for a new mother,
Offering to babysit a young mother’s children for free so she can treat herself to a spa day or a date with her spouse,
Offering to call and listen once a week to someone who is shut-in for one reason or another,
Offering is the key to ‘doing random acts of kindness’ –
And when one lives in kindness towards others you will find that the abundance of blessings you will experience yourself will bring hope to your spirit to continue to do more.
Have an awesome time celebrating this day and it is my prayer it will bring you so much joy that you will begin to practice ‘random acts of kindness’ every day and bless the world around you with God’s presence of love.
Looking for some inspiration? Consider one of our courses! Most offer 180 days of access, perfect for working through a virtual retreat at your own pace. You can find them all right here! And did you know? We offer discounts if you have purchased a course or virtual retreat from us before or are buying for a group. Email us before check-out for the code!