As we embark on the holiday season, more often we tend to be more mindful of others, and being kind. What if we were intentional every single day of the year?
My heart is broken when I see the news these days. There is so much hurt, anger, and division all over the world. As I hear of mass shootings in churches, at concerts, and schools, or bank robberies, or car-jackings, or the bullying epidemic we have in our school system, it’s hard to turn a blind eye to any of it. How can we? People are hurting.
Nobody is perfect. I get that. I probably fail at this concept more days than I excel at it. But the idea is that I could do better. I think we all could do better. Think about the last time someone made a simple kind gesture for you? When was the last time you did something kind, out of the blue, for someone else?
Our world changes when we begin to take responsibility for what we put into it, and what we pour into others. Often times it starts with a heart of forgiveness. The Bible says,
“Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.” ~Ephesians 4:32
I don’t believe that kindness and forgiveness were haphazardly placed in the same scripture. There was a divine link between the two. If we carry around unforgiveness in our hearts, it’s so much more difficult to be kind to others.
You don’t think you carry unforgiveness?
It shows up as bitterness, being quick to anger, sarcasm and ill thoughts of others, depression, and the list goes on. When we hold unforgiveness towards others, it actually poisons us. It negatively effects our ability to be free. I heard a quote a long time ago that stuck with me. “Unforgiveness is like eating poison, but expecting the other person to die.” I have no idea who said it but it’s so true.
I’ve also heard it said that if we believe that Christ came and died on the cross to pay for the sin of all men, then for you to hold unforgiveness is like saying the blood of Jesus was meaningless. How could it cover your sin, but not their sin?
I’ve heard people say, “If I forgive them, then they will think what they did was okay.” Not necessarily, because the reality of the situation is that trust was broken in some way. Your relationship has changed. Giving forgiveness (even without an apology or acknowledgement) just means you no longer expect payment for the offense. Why would you let it go? Because Jesus already paid the price. It’s between the other person and God at this point.
Now, don’t misunderstand. I’m not saying you should let people treat you any which way. I’m definitely not saying to stay in an abusive relationship. Not at all. Get out of the situation and be safe. When you are safe, work on your forgiveness. Forgiveness also doesn’t mean pretending like nothing ever happened. Sometimes, we have to put boundaries up in relationships for a time.
Okay, I could go on and on about forgiveness, but that’s not what this post was supposed to be about… at least in my head. Haha! I guess the Lord had another plan.
Anyhow, in the famous words of Elsa, from the Disney movie, Frozen…
“Let it go!”
So now that we have been working on forgiveness, and we want to be kind to others, let’s make a plan! I have come up with a list of 35 random acts of kindness that almost anyone can do. The majority of them are free, it just takes a little work. There are several under $10, and one that might cost you a little more. But you have options. You can pick one and do it every single day, or you can pick 10 different ones and do them multiple times in a month, or pick 30 to do one each day and repeat again the next month.
For example: On the 10th of every month, I’m treating someone to coffee. Every Monday, I’m sending a handwritten card to someone. And so on…
35 Random Act of kindness
- Give someone (or several people) a compliment
- Treat someone to coffee
- Make a thank you card for someone and send it to them/or deliver it personally
- Help carry groceries for someone who appears to need help
- Let someone go in front of you in the check-out lane at the store
- Say a prayer for someone that looks like they are struggling
- Invite a friend over for dinner
- Bake cookies and take them to a neighbor or two
- Go visit someone in a nursing home for an hour
- Smile and say “Hi” to someone you don’t know
- Post a selfie with a friend and tag them on social media, and then explain why they are special
- Spend time with someone who experienced a loss this year
- Hand-write a letter to a friend, telling them how special they are to you
- Send a sweet text someone (or a few people) you care about
- Make a stop in Waffle House and pay for someone’s meal that is sitting alone, and just leave
- Help a senior citizen decorate with some holiday cheer
- Offer to help a friend wrap their Christmas gifts
- Babysit a friend’s kids for free
- Volunteer your time at a food pantry or homeless shelter
- Treat a friend who is struggling out for dessert and offer to listen to them
- Host a movie night and provide popcorn and drinks
- Invite a neighbor over for dinner (that you prepare)
- Dress up as a super hero and go visit a children’s hospital for an hour
- Take a basket of treats to your local firemen, EMT’s, and police officers
- Donate blankets and coats to a homeless shelter
- Re-gift a favorite book of yours and write a personal note inside to the new owner
- Start writing lots of happy memories down in a journal to pass on to one of your kids one day
- Bring muffins or donuts to work and bless your co-workers
- Help someone clean their house
- Pay for the car behind you in the drive-thru line
- Gather a small group of friends and go Christmas caroling around a neighborhood
- Run an errand for a friend
- Pass up a great parking space so someone else can have it
- Make or buy a dozen cookies and give them out while you are running errand
- Buy a pizza and have it delivered to your friend’s house. Make sure they are home!! 😊
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Just a little something to ponder…
I have read that the number of professing Christians in America has dropped in recent years from 80% to around 70%. The last time I checked, 70% is still a majority. If Christians would do what they are called to do, the world would look like a different place. I am only responsible for what I do, and you are only responsible for what you do. But what if we actually did what the Bible told us to do?
Jesus says in John 13:34 says, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.”
And in Luke 6:27-31, Jesus says, “But I say to you who hear, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. To one who strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also, and from one who takes away your cloak do not withhold your tunic either. Give to everyone who begs from you, and from one who takes away your goods do not demand them back. And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them.”
Acts 20:35, “In all things I have shown you that by working hard in this way we must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’”
Romans 12:10, “Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor.”
Colossians 3:12-13, “Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.”
And remember… it only took 12 disciples to turn the world upside down.