#BeKind starts this week at The Water’s Edge. Some equate kindness to being polite or nice. Like holding a door open for somebody or saying “thank you” or not confronting somebody over something trivial. Those are all pretty mundane virtues and I wouldn’t spend four weeks talking about such things. Kindness is not only God’s idea—it is who God is. We are created in God’s image and, at our best, are kind and do kindness. Here are seven surprising and not-so-surprising things about kindness:
- It’s cool to be kind
Winning an argument and proving you are right is pretty lame. So is being sarcastic and cynical. I don’t know which is worse: tearing another person down or being indifferent. I guess it doesn’t matter because both are harmful. The coolest people I know seek understanding, are encouraging, build people up, and care about others. The coolest people I know are kind.
- Kindness is fun
Complain or listen to somebody complain. That will wear you our faster than running up a steep hill and then doing a bunch of push-ups. Judging people and gossiping and keeping score might seem like a good idea at the time. So did getting a tattoo late one night when you were on vacation and not thinking so clearly. Do you really want to have fun in life with no resentment or regrets? Be kind.
- Kindness is right
Being kind doesn’t mean enabling a self-destructive behavior or letting people take advantage of you. Being kind means you care enough to walk alongside somebody with clear expectations and benevolent empathy so they may experience growth and gratification.
- Kindness is good for you
God says kindness is good for you. If that doesn’t do much for you: medical, psychological, and anthropological research concludes kindness is good for you. If you have a distrust for academic research, be kind for the rest of the month and you will experience kindness being good for you.
- Kindness is good for others
Aristotle describes kindness as helpfulness towardssomeone in need, not in return for anything, nor for the advantage ofthe helper himself, but for that of the person helped. Of course, you don’t need some dead, Greek philosopher to explain to you something you already knew because you have had people be mean to you, people not care about you, and people be kind to you. And kindness is your favorite.
- Kindness is always possible
Sometimes kindness is going to be easy. Sometimes kindness will be difficult. But kindness is always possible. And best.
- Kindness is what the world needs
Ours is a world of hostility, depression, distraction, intolerance, boredom, selfishness, anxiety, stress, and comparison. Kindness is like a spring of fresh, cold water to a weary and thirsty traveller in the desert. So be kind!