October 5th is National Do Something Nice Day. It’s a nice sentiment (no pun intended), but it sounds like I’m off the hook the rest of the year. Shouldn’t we be nice all the time? National Do Something Nice Day right up there with February 17th’s Random Acts of Kindness Day.
I’m not a fan of random acts of kindness. Don’t write me off as a curmudgeon. After all, my dad did raise me right.
- I hold the door open for people (not just women, thank you).
- I speak politely to the high school kid working the drive-thru.
- I rescue baby bunnies from the dietary plans of my beagle.
When a need for kindness is right in front of me, I should take it. That’s biblical. Followers of Christ are commanded to clothe themselves with kindness (Col. 3:12). Kindness is part of the fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22-23).
We’re not being random when we encounter someone who could obviously use some kindness.
Jesus told a story about a man who did an incredible act of kindness for a stranger. The parable of the Good Samaritan is about a Jew and a Samaritan, two men Jesus’ audience would have considered enemies. It was obvious to the Samaritan that the Jew was in a bad way—beaten and robbed—and he helped. That’s true kindness.
Kindness is seeing a need and responding in a good, gracious way that benefits the one being helped. This captures the meaning of the Greek word and how it was used in the New Testament.
It may feel kind to us to pay for the coffee of the person in line behind us, but the guy spending $4.75 for a skinny white vanilla latte probably is not in need of someone buying his coffee.
The Samaritan didn’t pay the lodging bill for everyone—he paid for the one who needed it.
Let’s be kind and let’s be nice—but let’s be intentional about it. Do it for those who could use the help or who need the encouragement. Don’t just be nice; through your intentional act of kindness, build a relationship. Show them the love of Christ in the process. Do it to honor Jesus, not to honor a national holiday.
Dr. Lynn Pryor really is kind—even nice. He leads the team at Lifeway Christian Resources that produces the ongoing Bible study curriculum Bible Studies for Life. Follow him lynnhpryor.com.