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 truly benefits the person. That 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 to the lodging bill for everyone; he paid for the one who needed it.
Let’s be kind—but let’s be intentional in our kindness. 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. And do it to honor Jesus.
Lynn Pryor is a team leader for adult resources at Lifeway. He and his wife, Mary, lead a Bible study group for young adults and have survived raising two sons to adulthood. A graduate of Southwestern Seminary, Lynn has previously pastored and served churches in Texas. Read more from his blog at lynnhpryor.com.