Monday, March 13, 2017

Experience the Joy of Kindness

We are called to love one another and demonstrate this in practical ways through acts of kindness. So we need to stop focusing on minor differences that hinder our expressions of true kindness to our brothers and sisters. Even more, we need to move beyond being kind to each other because we feel that the other person "deserves" it.
Instead, we need to show kindness because it is God's will that we have a generous spirit which reflects his character. Let us cultivate an attitude of kindness and generosity to others.

Let us always consider the vulnerable in our midst, for example, the the poor, children and the elderly.  Let us make a special effort to be kind to people generally and especially those with special needs. As we reach out and touch them, our lives will be enriched.

The Australian Kindness Movement lists numerous ways to show kindness including being kind to yourself. Here are 30 of these acts of kindness (with slight modifications) that you might like to begin to practice:
  1. Encourage kind behavior, and praise anyone you encounter who show kindness.
  2. Offer  to your surplus books in good condition to the local library or a senior citizen’s center.
  3. Write letters of appreciation to groups who are helping the community.
  4. Tell someone you love and appreciate them – and do it often.
  5. Cultivate positive self-talk, that is, what you tell yourself.
  6. Encourage other people's dreams of the future.
  7. Give your child your full attention full attention. when he or she speaks to you.
  8. Always act fairly in any disagreement.
  9. Be considerate of other people’s feelings.
  10. Smile when you are speaking on the phone. The smile will come through in your voice.
  11. If you make a mistake, own it and take appropriate action.
  12. Learn to do one thing at a time.
  13. Set aside 15-20 minutes of quiet time for yourself.
  14. If you have the choice to be right or to be kind, choose to be kind
  15. Treat others with respect, and you will find that others will respect you.
  16. Believe in miracles
  17. Give small tokens of your love to family, friends, children and the elderly for no particular reason.
  18. Focus on commending instead of blaming others.
  19. Offer to babysit so parents/guardians can have time alone or away.
  20. Wash someone’s car as a surprise.
  21. Give people the benefit of the doubt.
  22. Acknowledge every person you encounter.
  23. Go to opportunity shops and purchase toys in good condition and donate them to charities for children.'
  24. Surprise somebody with a small gift that they may be unable to afford.
  25. Be courteous in traffic and in parking lots.
  26. Have a kind word for those you interact with daily.
  27. Be the best role model you can be.
  28. Smile, regardless of your mood or how you feel. 
  29. Tell your family that you are there for them, to love and support them.
  30. Say "Thank you" when you leave the checkout, the bus, when someone holds open a door for you, and so on.
You can find other practical ideas from the book, 100 Days of Kindness: Spreading Happiness, Joy, and Love with Acts of Random Kindness. The author encourages us to try at least one of these acts of random kindness for ourselves.

Focus Verse: "
Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you" (Ephesian 4:32, NIV).

Focus Question: What practical steps will you take demonstrate acts of kindness each day of your life?

Let Us Pray: "Father God, thank you for the capacity you gave us to be kind to each other, and the most vulnerable among us. Help me today, to demonstrate kindness in all my spheres of influence. In Jesus' Name I pray. Amen."


Image courtesy of stockimages at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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