Kindness by Lisa Hunt-Wotton
Kindness is the quality of being friendly, generous, considerate.
A tree is known by its fruit; a man by his deeds.
A good deed is never lost; he who sows courtesy reaps friendship, and he who plants kindness gathers love.
It’s a simple truth that a tree is known by its fruit. Kindness is a fruit of the Spirit of God. The fruits of the Spirit are love, joy peace, long-suffering, kindness, goodness, meekness, temperance and faith. It is the evidence of the spirit of God moving through us. The Greek word for “kindness” is chrēstotēs. It means “benignity, tender concern, uprightness.” It is kindness of heart and kindness of act.
We can all practice kindness. It does not cost any money but it make take time and energy. It may require thoughtfulness, to smile, to visit, to comfort or to offer encouragement or show friendliness.
God is Kind, it is His kindness that brings us to repentance (Titus 3:4-5; Romans 2:4; 11:22)
Kindness goes hand in hand with love and is expressed in compassion toward the earth and all of its inhabitants.
“Three things in human life are important: the first is to be kind; the second is to be kind; and the third is to be kind.”
― Henry James
Kindness and love require the belief that others are worthy of attention and affirmation for no other reasons but for their own sake. If you believe this then you would endorse the following statements (Positive Psychology):
- Others are just as important as me.
- All human beings are of equal worth.
- Having a warm and generous affect seems to bring reassurance and joy to others.
- Giving is more important than receiving.
- Doing good for others with love and kindness is the best way to live.
- I am not the center of the universe but part of a common humanity.
- People who are suffering need compassion.
- People in need require care.
“‘Positive interpersonal relationships are crucial to a healthy and happy life. What contributes to these kinds of relationships? I am convinced that loving kindness is a major factor. Kind people are generally physically and psychologically healthier; they attract more intimate relationships; their marriages are happier; they touch more lives and are touched more by others; they elicit kindness from others; they are better teachers in the eyes of students. And the list goes on (See Piero Ferrucci’s The Power of Kindness). No wonder the Dalai Lama says, “My religion is kindness.” He advises that if you want others to be happy, be kind; and if you yourself want to be happy, be kind. Aldous Huxley toward the end of his life said,
“People often ask me what the most effective technique for transforming their life is. It is a little embarrassing that after years and years of research and experimentation, I have to say that the best answer is — just be a little kinder”‘ (Sheikh).
We also need to learn to be kind to ourselves, especially the hurt and broken parts of ourselves. Kindness brings healing when we can accept our faults, our mistakes our hurts. When we are kind enough to recognise that we have all hard hard times, bad circumstances and we have all made bad choices. We all need to find grace in our own stories. The important thing is that we recognise this and then move on. One of the greatest proponents of healing is when we have the courage to tell our story and it is received with grace and kindness. Shame and fear drop away.
It’s a revelation sometimes to realise that we are often the caretakers of our own prisons, we are the ones holding the keys to our own prison cells and we are the ones punishing ourselves. We need to be kind enough to ourselves to say, I can let go of this now, I don’t have to keep myself in bondage anymore, I can be brave enough to tell my story, receive forgiveness, forgive myself and move on.
Marquette Magazine: What is the secret to happiness? Dr. Anees Sheikh
Positive Psychology: http://www.fredonia.edu/counseling/pdf/Understandingsignaturestrengths.pdf