Random acts of kindness
By Lester F. Polenz
It’s like the loaves and fishes. For so little, so much is done.
Lives are changed, burdens lightened, deeds multiplied, worth restored.
“It blesseth him that gives, and him that takes.” It’s sharing mercy and little acts of kindness. It is also a lot of fun.
Stick quarters in the shopping carts at the grocery store. Leave the change in a coin slot and wonder who will be surprised. Tip the waitress really generously and note the reaction. Marriages can be repaired, friendships restored, congregational caring increased, faith renewed, if one includes the Lord. All that for nothing? That’s hard to believe! Try it.
It’s just noticing everyone you meet -- putting on your best behavior but adding something extra, a word of praise.
It will shock most and some may misunderstand. But be sincere and honest; do your part and leave the rest to God.
There is such a need: a pastor who had never heard a compliment, a wife feeling unloved, the police officer needing to feel worth, a lonely neighbor. You cannot change the world, but you can brighten a corner with little acts of kindness.
Learn to value the commonplace, not just the exceptional. Reactions will sometimes surprise you. A striking example was the funeral of a man who practiced random acts of kindness with coworkers, his neighbors and his congregation. Over a thousand people -- from all walks of life -- came to say goodbye and honor him for how he touched their lives.
Words to add
Here are words you may want to add to your everyday vocabulary:
• Nice going.
• Couldn’t have done it better myself.
• I lucked out when I met you.
• That’s great.
• How did you do that?
• You make it seem so simple.
• Good job.
•Wow, never seen better.
There are so many simple ways of using words to make a difference in the lives of those who hear that special praise.
Words to subtract
What about those who are suffering and need more than praise? Fear too often causes us to pass them by. Could we actually fear that woe is contagious? Or is it a fear that all too soon we may be in the same situation? People tend to fall back on hackneyed, pious, meaningless sayings:
• Others are worse off.
• It’s not that bad.
• Sam had that and he died.
Job once suffered from his well-intentioned friends’ remarks. Dare we let fear, feelings and convenience keep us from helping others?
You need to love yourself
You cannot care and love the other if you do not love yourself. We must fully understand who we are, as God has made us. Then as God’s children we are enabled by the Spirit to serve God and neighbor. Enjoy the freedom to become what we already are.
Jesus fulfilled God’s will for us. It has all been done for us so we no longer need to prove anything nor be afraid we haven’t done enough.
Now we seek to please our Lord, not as slaves, but as God’s children who delight to please him. Our bodies may be dead because of sin, but our spirits are alive because of righteousness (Romans 8:10).
We love now because God first loved us. Begin to see everyone you meet as someone you can help along life’s road. Help drive a bit of the darkness away. Try it now, and then do it all week long!