A few weeks ago, I was driving home from visiting family and I was pondering about the phrase, “Random Acts of Kindness.” I never really thought about this before, but, on this day, it made me think of why do acts of kindness need to be random. How can we create intentional acts of kindness?
How would an intentional act of kindness look? Would it be something for which we seek recognition? Would it be something quiet and anonymous?
Now, as I reflect back on this, it reminds me of the scripture from John 8:3-11. In this scripture, we learn about an adulterous woman. We learn how the scribes and Pharisees tried to test Jesus. The thing it, at the end of this scripture, Jesus showed the woman love and understanding. He did not condemn the woman. All he asked of her was that she not sin again.
In this, Jesus was intentional about his kindness. Yes, it was a public display of intentional kindness, but the intentional part is what is important. He did not care about the backlash he would receive from others. He cared about the woman, her needs, and that she needed to be shown unconditional love and acceptance.
This scripture makes me think of kindness, on how we can be intentional about it. Showing kindness does not always have to involve money. I believe that time and talents can be even more valuable than money. Kindness does not always need to be super time consuming either. It could be a simple text or message to let someone know you are thinking of them. It can be making meals for someone. It can be just a simple smile given to a stranger.
Kindness can help bring peace to someone’s soul. Kindness can help someone see the true love of Christ. Kindness is not preachy. Kindness does not expect anything in return. Kindness is love for one another without any strings attached.
Kindness, in my eyes, is at the heart of the Enduring Principle of Pursuit of Peace (Shalom). From the Community of Christ website, it states that the Pursuit of Peace (Shalom) is:
- God wants shalom (justice, reconciliation, well-being, wholeness, and peace) for all of creation.
- Jesus Christ, the embodiment of God’s shalom (peace), reveals the meaning of God’s peace in all aspects of life.
- The vision of Zion is to promote God’s reign on earth, as proclaimed by Jesus Christ, through the leavening influence of just and peaceful communities.
- We courageously and generously share the peace of Jesus Christ with others.
- Led by the Holy Spirit, we work with God and others to restore peace (shalom) to creation.
- We celebrate God’s peace wherever it appears or is being pursued by people of good will.
Showing and performing intentional acts of kindness is one way we can help show God’s shalom. I know that when people have shown me kindness, it has helped me feel closer to God. It has helped bring peace to my soul. Recently, I my pastor asked if I would like to receive a blessing, also known as the sacrament of laying on of hands for the sick. I have been struggling with anxiety and depression lately and it has become overwhelming. In my pastor asking if I would like to receive this sacrament, they showed me an intentional act of kindness. I would have never asked for this because I usually see it as a sacrament for those who are physically sick. My pastor’s intentional act of kindness helped me to see that not only does my local congregation love me, but God loves me, too.
How can you create intentional acts of kindness and be the bearer of God’s shalom every day? How can we follow the prompting of the Holy Spirit to follow through with intentional acts of kindness?
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I pray that we, as a Community of Christ, remember that Jesus showed us how to live every day with an intentional act of kindness by giving his live for us all. I hope that we can all pay that kindness forward every day by loving one another intentionally and with all our hearts.