So, How Important Is A Little Kindness?

In a study of 37 cultures around the world, 16,000 subjects were asked about their most desired traits in a mate. For both sexes, the first choice was kindness. Acclaimed psychologists John and Julie Gottman gathered data on successful marriages for decades and found that kindness was essential to a lasting union.

But, What Is Kindness? A little kindness

It begins with caring; being tenderhearted and compassionate. The Greek word for ‘kind’ is Chrestos—meaning ‘useful.’ This means that kindness involves action. Truly kind people will actively look for opportunities to show kindness.

Whether it’s paying for someone’s coffee at the drive-through behind them or writing a note of encouragement to a friend, kindness requires action. Of course, action can also include words—words of encouragement, comfort, courtesy and compliments can be heartwarming acts of kindness.

Jesus practiced kindness that was considered radical for that time and culture. His kindness often extended to the people that were not treated well, including the sick, poor and social outcasts. He healed them, prayed with them and fed them.

What about a little kindness to ourselves?  –Patricia Raybon

Do you celebrate your own birthday? Or as my friend says: “What are you doing on your birthday–for you?”

She asks me that every year. Still, the question always catches me off guard. What am I doing? For myself?

In the Christian life, which focuses so often on our outreach to others, it can seem un-Christian to schedule a reward for ourselves. Like a day off. A dinner out. A short walk. A long nap. A renewing vacation. A little pep talk. A fresh reminder that God loves us all. A lot.

Indeed, if I think about it hard enough, I could contrive a way to take a break from helping others–to take time to also help myself. The Bible lets us know such self-care and kindness is not only okay, but pleasing unto God.

Some of my favorite Biblical moments of Jesus are those times when He was doing just that–taking a nap on a boat, fixing breakfast for His friends, reclining at dinner, taking a walk in the mountains by Himself.

What was He doing?

  • Restoring Himself.
  • Renewing Himself.
  • Reviving Himself.

Then He gave that much more to others–not to mention to the world.

Such actions remind us that it’s perfectly okay with God if we value ourselves enough to give ourselves the gift of kindness. But such a gift doesn’t have to cost money.  Instead, the cost for such a reward can be the simple act of being more gentle with ourselves.

Less blame. More acceptance.

a little kindnessThen remember to pay it forward.  That’s not easy for everybody. As Bible scholar Dwight L. Moody observed, “I have had more trouble with myself than with any other man.”

So we let God help. He does the heavy lifting of love. Only then we prevail.

Discussion Questions:

  1. Are you the person that struggles more with true acts of kindness towards others or yourself? Why?
  2. What’s the next thing that you have on the books to be kind to YOU?
  3. What’s a recent act of kindness you performed?
  4. Kindness. When kindness is at work in a person’s life, he or she looks for ways to adapt to meet the needs of others. It is moral goodness that overflows. It’s also the absence of malice.   Question: Is it my goal to serve others with kindness, or am I too focused on my own needs, desires, or problems to let the goodness of God overflow to others?

Note:  This message was first published by Ms. Raybon on her website.  You can read the original blog post here.

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