Over the last few weeks I have written about kindness, and done a lot of thinking about the positive attitude and optimism which accompany kindness. While getting ready this morning, I was searching for a podcast to listen to on kindness. I came across a podcast of a church I was introduced to when I lived in Georgia. I have never attended 12 Stone, but one of my closest friends attends the church with her family. The podcast was about the story of The Good Samaritan and acts of kindness.
During this podcast, Pastor Kevin Queen said “showing kindness is better than feeling compassion.” This got me thinking, much of what I have written and thought about lately is rooted in compassion. Feeling compassion and feeling empathy, but what about action? What about actions of kindness in your life? Having kindness and compassion in your heart is great, but showing that kindness to others is what counts. So what stops us from acting in ways of kindness, when we do feel compassion and yet do nothing? In many ways, I believe it is fear that stops us from acting in kindness. It takes courage to be kind. It takes courage to do the right thing. Often, we pull ourselves back from reaching out and helping other people because it can be scary. It can be scary to put yourself out there, beyond your comfort zone. But to me, what’s scarier is if no one helps, if no one practices kindness. I’ve heard before, that every action we take is either moving towards love or towards fear. If we all let fear control our actions, then we are not acting in love or kindness.
So how do we move beyond fear, and show kindness through our actions? We can start small. Start with small random acts of kindness, and let that kindness create a ripple, like a rock thrown in a pond. Hold a door open for a stranger, make conversation with a cashier, give someone your undivided attention. Let someone know that they matter and you value them. I’ve heard these small acts of kindness referred to as low cost or no cost acts of kindness. I heard in a Super Soul Sunday Conversation “Kind words do not cost much, but they accomplish much.” Perhaps, we are fearful that kind actions will cost more than we are willing to expend. These acts of kindness may be simple, and easy. They may not cost you anything, or really mean much to you; but they could mean everything to someone else. These small acts of kindness don’t just serve others, they can be self serving as well. They help you feel better, they help you see the goodness in the world, because you are that goodness. And that goodness can be contagious.
My hope is that if we see the benefits of small acts of kindness we will move toward larger acts, creating larger impact. And all it takes is one person, one person who has an idea, and turns that idea into an impact. Today, go out in the world, and spread kindness. Act in ways that serves others. If actions speak louder than words, then let those actions be of kindness. Let them be fueled by a desire to make today a little bit better for each person you come in contact with. As Pastor Queen described through The Good Samaritan, get off your donkey and help someone.