“… love is kind.” I Corinthians 13:4
Kindness is love in action. The motivation is love. The result is a life of kindness. “Love is kind,” as Paul so succinctly wrote. Kindness is not something you do as much as someone you become. It’s a way of living in the world, a way of relating wherever you are, with whoever you are. Kindness is to relate out of a spirit of grace.
“Kindness” is linguistically related to the word kin. Kin refers to the natural feeling we all have for the welfare of our families. Then there are “kindred spirits” with whom we feel a special affinity or kinship. But kindness, as in loving-kindness, expands the focus. It points to our wish for the best and our willingness to do what we can for the sake of anyone in the family of humankind. Kindness belongs with kin and kinship, for we are all related. Remember how Jesus put it, “… just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.” (Matthew 25:40 NRSV)
Kindness is a gentle spirit. It’s a tough world out there. The challenges, the battles are real. It is a world filled with those who deserve a word spoken with kindness. All it takes to touch a lonely or struggling heart is an act of kindness. Ironically, the only phrase from a presidential convention acceptance speech I can quote from memory is from the early nineties when a nominee urged us as a nation to be “kinder and gentler.” Words of wisdom. A simple moment of kindness reminds us we are all in this together. We are all kin. Kindness can encourage and connect. Kindness can transform.
Mary Oliver put it this way, as I pick up in mid-poem:
“I know what everyone wants
is a miracle.
This wasn’t a miracle.
Unless, of course, kindness –
as now and again
some rare person has suggested –
is a miracle.
As surely it is.”
Prayer: We pray, O Lord, for kindness of spirit with everyone we meet on this day. In Christ name. Amen.