Monday, May 11, 2015

2 kinds of Kindness

We often hear about what are commonly called "random acts of kindness", small things people do, spontaneously, for another person, just to show Kindness. These are terrific, of course, and often very heart-warming; YouTube is full of videos showing these kinds of Kind actions...

Kindness is, probably, most often thought of in "pro-active" terms:  We determine to BE kind, to INITIATE Kindness, through actions or words; but there is another kind of Kindness, too, that may be just as important:  RESPONSIVE Kindness.

How We Respond
The Scriptures tell us that Kindness is a fundamental component of godly LOVE, and that we're to not only demonstrate Kindness but to also respond to others with Kindness: 

Romans 12:14
Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them.
Luke 6:27-28
But I say to you who hear, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you.
Matthew 5:39-42
But I say to you, Do not resist the one who is evil. But if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if anyone would sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. And if anyone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. Give to the one who begs from you, and do not refuse the one who would borrow from you.

Of course, it's not always about responding in Kindness to BAD things; perhaps we might focus more on responding with Kindness to the needs, wants, wishes, thoughts, feelings and desires of those around us, as a way of showing (and living) true, from-the-heart, biblical LOVE...

Here are some examples of RESPONSIVE Kindness, to spark our imagination:

1.  A homeless person asks for help...
          Respond with money, or food, or at least a kind word
2.  An elderly person boards your train...
          Respond by offering your seat
3.  A child clamors to tell her story to you...
          Respond with your undivided, loving Attention
4.  A friend breaks down as he shares his hurt...
          Respond with gestures of Empathy and Compassion
5.  Your spouse expresses Frustration or Disappointment...
          Respond with Patience and Listening skills... work together toward Resolution
6.  Someone prepares a nice meal for you...
          Respond with sincere expressions of Gratitude and Appreciation
7.  Your child is trying hard to do better...
          Respond by giving him/her words of Encouragement, perhaps
          even a Reward of some sort

Of course, one's Heart and Mind probably have to be ready, at all times, to respond with Kindness when the opportunities come; but of course that's just the kind of Metamorphosis (Romans 12:2) that Sanctification is all about, right?