An Epidemic of Kindness
by Rev. Chris Dickerson
In the movie “Pay It Forward,” starring Kevin Spacey and Helen Hunt, a teacher (Spacey) gives his class a big assignment. The assignment is to come up with an idea that will change the world. One little boy decides to do something nice for 3 people. His 3 recipients of kindness are then to pay it forward. If each group pays it forward, then 3 becomes 9, and 9 becomes 27. In a short time, the world would be changed by the power of being nice. Would our world be a better place if we were simply nice to one another? Would we have better relationships in our families if we decided to show kindness to our spouse and our kids? Would the workplace be a better environment if co-workers made a choice to show kindness? With a resounding yes, the more important question is heard: How? Kindness is an action, it’s something we do. And kindness can be explained in five simple steps. First, kindness always takes the initiative. In other words, kindness takes the first step. Instead of waiting for your wife to admit she was wrong, say she loves you, or whatever it might be…kindness takes the first step.
Kindness chooses to love, even when we think the other person doesn’t deserve it.
Next, kindness always has the right incentive. We live in a world that makes decisions based on the pay back. What will I get out of this? How do I benefit from this? That is the opposite of kindness. Kindness acts out of love. Kindness acts not out of what it gets but out of what it gives.
Kindness is something we do with no desire for reward or payback.
Third, kindness always is inclusive. Kindness is not only for the beautiful people, not only for the rich people, not only for the people like you. Kindness is an action that is no respecter of persons. Kindness says, “You and I are different. But I choose to be nice to you no matter how different we are.”
Kindness should not exclude anyone.
Kindness always has the right intensity. That is, kindness goes to the fullest. Kindness is not minimal living. It is not a decision to see how little I can do for someone else. Kindness is a choice to do all that we can for all those we can. Malcolm Bane put it this way, “If you wait until you can do everything for everybody, instead of something for somebody, you’ll end up not doing anything for anybody.”
Kindness has the right intensity when it gives its all for the other person.
Finally, kindness always becomes infective. In the movie “Pay It Forward,” the little boy’s idea catches on. Soon, people all over the world are “paying it forward.” Why? It’s simple. When you are nice to somebody, there is always someone who is watching. And like a flu epidemic, the virus of kindness is infective…resulting in that person eventually being nice as well. The same is true of the kindness of God. The Bible says, “God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). God took the initiative to show kindness to humanity. He did it for our sake. He does not exclude anyone, as long as they come by way of the cross of Jesus Christ. He did not hold anything back. And…
the kindness of God towards us should result in our being kind to others.
Are you infected with His love?