Whoever pursues righteousness and kindness will find life, righteousness, and honor.
A man who is kind benefits himself, but a cruel man hurts himself.
My life has been touched many, many times by simple, unexpected acts of kindness. Those instances include receiving unexpected notes from friends, flowers, and meals when I was a young mother. There was the couple who helped me with my bags when I was traveling alone, and countless times someone has held the door for me. There was the time someone stopped to help me change a flat tire and the time I was not charged for a service call. Such a simple gestures can really add to someone’s day. One simple act of kindness can spur another on to do the same thing.
The opposite is also true – it’s easy to aggravate someone by being thoughtless, rude, or just insisting on our own way. Maybe it’s because we are in a hurry, or are thinking too highly of ourselves, or perhaps we are reacting to a bad situation – but there is really no excuse for being rude. Sometimes we just don’t show emotion because we don’t know someone we are interacting with – like a cashier. Keep in mind that a simple act of kindness can derail a thoughtless act.
Yesterday, someone bought lunch for everyone in my office. What a pleasant surprise! I watched how faces lit up when given the news. Everyone was smiling and enjoyed pleasant conversation with the welcome diversion from our usual busy Friday afternoon. Later I noticed one of the lunch recipients holding the door for not one, but three coworkers. Someone else held the elevator door. The lunch act of kindness was passed on.
God expects us to act with kindness towards one another. Kindness is a Fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23). It is also mentioned several other places in the Bible. Consider the Prophet Zechariah’s words: “Thus says the Lord of hosts, Render true judgments, show kindness and mercy to one another, do not oppress the widow, the fatherless, the sojourner, or the poor, and let none of you devise evil against another in your heart.” (Zechariah 7:9-10). We are commanded to act kindly toward each other.
If we listen to the news it would be easy to become cynical and assume no one is kind to each other anymore. However, we have all experienced acts of kindness at some point. Pass it on.
He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?
The following list is just a few ideas to show kindness to someone. It’s so easy. I’m challenging myself to act more kindly to others, especially those I don’t know.
- It all starts with a smile. Look people in the eye and give them a big smile.
- Open the door for someone.
- Bring flowers to a friend or neighbor.
- Buy a co-worker their favorite soda or treat. Leave it on his or her desk with a smiley face sticky note.
- Drop off toys, a game, or stuffed animals at a homeless shelter.
- Introduce yourself to neighbors and bring baked goods or sweets.
- Pay the toll for the car behind you.
- Wash someone’s car for them.
- Send a card or handwritten note to someone you hardly know.
- Help an elderly person cross the street.
- Help someone carrying a lot of stuff.
- Pay someone a sincere compliment.
- Leave a nice note for your spouse/child/friend.
- Open the door for someone.
- Help a younger sibling with homework.
- Let a car merge in front of you and do it with a smile.
- Participate in a park or beach cleanup.
- Exercise patience.
- Volunteer for Habitat for Humanity.
- Help someone with their bags or luggage.
- Offer to take a picture for tourists.
- Pay for the coffee for the person behind you.
- Share your class notes with a classmate.
- Help a friend move.
- Strike up a conversation with a stranger.
- Make your sibling/child/roommate’s bed for them.
- Help a lost tourist find his or her way
- Mentor someone.
- Give a generous tip to your waiter.
- Bring a welcome gift to new neighbors.
- Befriend a lonely person.
- Reach out to someone you haven’t talked to in a while.
- Compliment a stranger.
- Let someone take your parking spot.
- Don’t honk at cars (or people).
- Bring baked goods to the office to share.
- Donate your blood at a blood drive.
- Sit with someone who is eating alone.
- Go visit strangers in a nursing home. Read to them.
- Let someone go in front of you at the cashier.
- Bake cookies for the firemen.
- Donate clothes and shoes to the needy.
- Clean up after someone in the lunchroom or cafeteria.
- Recommend your favorite restaurant to a tourist.
- Do your sibling’s or roommate’s household chore.
- Praise a child to the parents while the child is present.
- Hold the elevator door for others.
- Text a friend to say you’re thinking of them.
- Offer someone a piece of gum or a mint.
- Bring misplaced shopping carts back to the designated area.
- Organize a study session for your classmates.
- Offer to babysit your friends’ kids for free.
- Donate your locks of hair.
- Tell someone you’ve fought with that you’re sorry and that you forgive them.
- Sign up to be an organ donor.
- Leave extra time in a parking meter.
- Pay for your friend’s tab.
- Give a blanket or umbrella to a homeless person.
- Be kind to someone you dislike.
- Encourage someone who is working hard at the gym.
- Vacuum the floor for your roommate.
- Take a shorter shower to save the hot water.
- Make a donation to a charity you care about.
- Bring homemade food to a new mom or single mom.
- Teach a child how to ride a bike.
- Bring a homeless person some food and a drink.
- Send a care package to someone in the military.
- Email your boss or professor and tell them how much you love learning from them.
- Be sure to say “good morning” and “thank you” to all service workers (bus drivers, police officers, mail carriers, and firefighters).
- Help a friend look for a job.
- Let your friend vent and listen to her problems.
- Make a playlist for your friends.
- Let someone else take your seat on public transportation.
- Praise the work of others.
- Let someone cut in front of you in line.
- Donate $1 to the next tip jar you see.
- Tell a street performer how amazing he or she is.
- Share your umbrella with someone who didn’t bring one.
- Help someone carry groceries to the car.
- Offer to work late for a co-worker who needs to leave early
- Donate books to the local shelter or hospital.
- Volunteer at an animal shelter during adoption events.
- Sponsor a child in a developing country.
- Write a letter to your former schoolteachers and tell them how much they influenced you.
- Help someone change their tire.
- Sign up for a bone marrow donation.
- Volunteer at a disabled student’s learning center.
- Shovel someone’s walk or driveway.
- Rake your neighbor’s leaves.
- Bring in a neighbor’s trash bins.
- Offer your seat on a plane so a family or couple can sit together.
- Support your own and your friends’ kids at their recitals and games
- Participate in a fund-raiser or donation.
- Offer to pick up your friend’s children after school.
- Offer to pet-sit for your friend for free.
- Pay someone a compliment.
- Bring a treat to share with your coworkers.
- Send someone a small gift anonymously.
- Leave a nice comment on a blog.
- For no particular reason, hug someone you love like you mean it.
Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience