The Kindness Factor — Morning Devotions - Hope 103.2

The Kindness Factor — Morning Devotions

Unfortunately it is all too common for humanity to contribute to and focus on the negative rather than the positive. But this doesn't need to be the case.

By Chris WittsFriday 19 Apr 2024Morning Devotions with Chris WittsFaithReading Time: 1 minute

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Back in the 1990s, there was a lot of violence in the San Francisco area, and there was a newspaper reporter who wrote – “We should stop reporting on random acts of violence and senseless acts of cruelty and instead practise random acts of kindness and senseless acts of beauty.”

Isn’t that amazing? And it had quite an impact on the readers. And eventually it started a movement that’s still going today. You can look it up. It’s called The Random Acts of Kindness Foundation, and one week each year a celebration is held in their theme. Make kindness the norm. I think this is a terrific idea, one we should try and establish in our own lives. How do you feel when someone does a kind act for you, like letting you into a space in the morning rush hour traffic? It’s worth a wave and saying thanks I guess.

it is difficult to describe the Hebrew meaning for kindness. The Hebrew shows kindness as actions like bowing the head, being courteous and being appropriate. Mark Twain wrote that kindness is a language which the deaf can hear, and the blind can see. Everyone knows instinctively, I think what kindness looks like, and actually it’s got the potential to change the world.

Kindness can be hard to practice each day though. We’re too busy. We become self centred and focus on our own stuff, and we neglect to take time to pay attention to others. The most empowering and effective form of kindness is a lifestyle choice, not just a one-off act like giving coffee to a homeless person on the street. As good as that is, it’s a deliberate choice that I take to make kindness part of my character in everyday life. Is it possible for this characteristic to become a natural reaction every day? What about our emails and phone calls? The American Foundation that I mentioned a minute ago has this theme make kindness the norm. We all desperately want to be loved and accepted, and I know that when someone is treated with kindness and respect, they feel worthy, they can hold their head up. And all that takes is a bit of effort and common sense, making some else’s day, and you’ll always feel good about it.

The effects of kindness

In fact, it’s proven by research. In a study published in the Journal of Social Psychology, people were asked to take a survey measuring how satisfied they were with life. Then they were divided into groups. One group was told to perform a daily act of kindness for 10 days, and the other group was told to do nothing of the sort. After 10 days, they filled out the satisfaction survey again, and that group that had practised kindness had had a significant boost in their own happiness. And that little experiment only lasted for 10 days. You might be familiar with William Penn’s statement. “I expect to pass through life, but once if therefore there be any kindness I can show or any good thing I can do to my fellow human being, let me do it now, for I shall not pass this way again.” That is a great statement and should be the way we look at life. Why? Because God is kind to everyone. He helps everybody, even those who will never know the true source of the blessings that He gives them.

I read a quote from someone that said, real generosity is doing something for somebody whom you know cannot pay it back. And that’s why the Bible says to share others’ feelings. Romans 12:15 In the New Testament says be joyful with those who are joyful and mourn with the mourners, it’s identifying with people’s feelings and being kind.

In other words, it should just be our way of living to show respect and decency to other people. Mother Teresa was asked why she was so kind and caring to the dying in Calcutta. She said she saw Christ in each of those people. What an inspiration Mother Teresa was, and her acts of kindness resonated around the world to people of all ages. She was one of the modern day saints and had said the world is lost for want of sweetness and kindness. Do not forget, we need each other. And she said, the most terrible poverty is loneliness and the feeling of being unloved. The Bible talks often about being kind, for example, it says, be kind to one another tender hearted, forgiving one another, just as God in Christ forgave you.

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Let’s Pray

Lord, it’s such a simple thing, kindness. And yet I overlook this and can be unkind in many ways. Lord forgive me for that. Show me how I can express kindness today. It doesn’t matter who it is, Lord. I just need to extend my hand and that touch of kindness to anyone that I meet today. Give me the grace to do that. I pray in Jesus name, Amen.