I love doing something kind when it really hits the spot. I will spend hours finding the perfect birthday gift to give a friend, or the exact right thing to say in a text, or the precise way to help a busy friend get through the day. But often I get paralyzed and anxious, and abandon my good intention because it’s too hard to know exactly what to do. I guess I’m learning that kindness is not a matter of accuracy.
The Bible says those who sow sparingly will reap also sparingly, but those who sow bountifully will reap bountifully.1 In the apostle Paul’s time, fields were typically planted liberally, with the expectation that not all of the seeds sown would take root or mature, but if enough were sown, there would be a harvest.
When it comes to kindness, don’t overthink it. Text to say hi, bring over a meal, hold open the door, send a random gift, invite someone over, take them out for a coffee, ask them how you can pray for them, pay a compliment. Reach out, don’t expect something in return, just foster the habit of kindness.
Kindness isn’t always convenient. You have to leave room in your life for it. You have to consciously slow down and notice. I hear things like this said all the time, and frankly, the hardest thing for me is that so often I don’t notice the other person’s need, or sometimes even notice that person at all! Feeling guilty about that is a waste of time—I’ve learned that I will miss some opportunities—but paying attention to the things I do notice is a good place to start.
My husband always carries a multi-tool. I’ve seen him use it to help someone open a box, screw back in a cupboard door, pull out a splinter, and a thousand other things. He’s so good at seeing those little needs and assisting with them. I don’t have a multi-tool—and even if I did, chances are I wouldn’t be too great at using it—but I have other ways to show love, like listening to people or connecting them to a resource.
None of us are incapable of showing some kindness, even if it’s only by offering respect and dignity to those around us, remembering that we are all made in God’s image.
- See 2 Corinthians 9:6.