“For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love.” 2 Peter 1:5-7 (NIV)
Today, I want to speak with you about kindness as a way of life. In my line of work, I can see how a soul moves from despair to hope through waves of influence. These waves of influence are often created by strangers’ acts of kindness. It is Spiritual when I see these waves of influence crash together producing relief, peace, comfort and joy in the lives of our neighbors. We never know what someone is facing, and every soul that crosses our path is here with a purpose.
In my youth, I thought of acts of kindness as one-time, direct interactions from one person to another. A kind act provided a temporary happy moment and no more: here and gone. However, in my testimony today, I now see the cumulative power of kindness producing faith and hope.
We never know how a simple act of kindness might encourage someone to press on. Have you ever had a time when you were at the end of a rope and a simple kind act from someone else lifted your chin?
I have grown to choose kindness as a way of life. Every day, I try to invest in the lives around me what I hope to experience in my own life. I let my lifestyle and how I interact with others reflect my core values. I don’t value judgement, punishment, shame, guilt, resentment, fear or hate. So why would I put those things into my world?
I value joy. I value Love. I value peace, patience, understanding, self-control and kindness.
These days, there seems to be so many reasons not to be kind. We are growing increasingly hard hearted, and we have become more comfortable expressing judgement.
We can actively choose to live a lifestyle of kindness. We can choose to love our neighbors through random acts of kindness. As we believe in Christ, we believe in extending kindness and compassion to our neighbor. Kindness has power, and we are the instruments of His power through our choice to love our neighbor.
I encourage you to soften your heart to the Holy Spirit, to the Spirit you feel encouraging you to act in kindness to someone else. If you feel an inkling to do something kind for a stranger, do it! Hold a door, offer a hand, crack a smile, make eye contact, say hello.
The Holy Spirit is larger than our single act alone. He is working through you to produce a hope in others. This hope overcomes despair and loss, grief and loneliness.
Kindness to strangers is a choice. It’s a lifestyle. It’s a cumulative wave of God’s grace producing hope in others!
To God be the glory,
The Salvation Army of Pickens County | Service Center Director