Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. – Colossians 3:12
For a while there everyone was talking about random acts of kindness. You hold open a door or return something that someone drops, and you can call yourself the Hero of the Day. Time to buy a cape.
But let’s take take that concept one step farther: How about deliberate acts of kindness? In other words, you set out into your day determined to show kindness to everyone in every way you can. If there ever were a time of year for kindness, this is it.
Kindness should start at home. Take time to let your son off the hook with a chore when you know he’s buried in finals. Iron your husband’s shirt without complaining when he announces he has a big client meeting the next morning for which he needs to prepare the rest of the evening.
Let’s take it to the office. You’re pulling in and it’s raining, and yet you let someone else take that last covered parking spot, even if your car seems worthier of the TLC. When you head to the break room to get your brain fuel (aka coffee), offer to get your coworker’s coffee first. Later, smile when you really want to sneer in response to a request for help when your day is already full enough.
You’re in line at your favorite lunch spot, and you see someone behind you who seems to be in a hurry. Perhaps the person even seems a little off-putting. You can say, “I can tell you’re in a hurry. Want to take my place in line?” (Be prepared for the strange looks, but that’s okay.) Then show Jobian patience with the order-taker when gets your order wrong four times in a row.
When you’re on the road and you can do so safely, let people pull out in front of you, especially if they’ve been waiting for an opening. And don’t drive like a NASCAR driver. (I’ll refrain from mentioning names.) Your time is no more important than anyone else’s. Concept.
Say a friendly “hello” instead of an “excuse me” when someone bumps into you with her cart at the grocery store. Smile at the cashier and ask him how he’s doing today. Ask the college student who carries your bags to the car how you can pray for her. Offer to return the cart for a mother whose hands are already full. Pay for a deli sub meal to be sent out to the homeless lady panhandling outside. Oh, and deliberately have some cash available to slip into the Salvation Army kettle at the store entrance.
Grab one of those Angel Tree ornaments and buy a present for an underprivileged child. Shop for Christmas presents using an Amazon Smile link that benefits your favorite charity. Offer to take an elderly neighbor Christmas shopping. Go visit with a shut-in.
Your kindness may be returned. Jonathan’s kindness to David was repaid when David treated his late friend’s only surviving son like family. Ruth’s kindness to Naomi was noticed by a rich hunk named Boaz, who married her and took care of her mother-in-law as well. Dorcas’ kindness to her community was repaid when Paul prayed over her body, which God restored to life.
It’s also possible your kindness may not be returned. Does it really matter? It will be credited to you as righteousness before God. You are His ambassadors. Represent, my friends.