Read Philippians 2:1-11
Our culture has strayed far from “nice” as normal behavior. A friend dropped by my house the other day to give me a gift. She went WAY out of her way because I live about 15 minutes from town. She also had no excuse to give me a gift – it wasn’t my birthday or Christmas or Tree Day. Simply, she thought of me and was being nice. It was incredible.
New neighbors moved in last year and when talking to them, my husband found out they didn’t have a large mower to mow down the grass around their pond. My husband offered to come mow it when he was doing the mowing around our place. After he finished the job, our neighbors asked how much they should pay him. He said, “Nothing, just being neighborly.” They were really shocked since they came from a large city in California where “nice” isn’t free. Ever.
As Christians, we need to get back to being nice. Even when it’s not culturally “normal.” Making an effort to show kindness shows our faith far better than words. Actions speak much louder than words. When we expect nothing in return, what better way to show God's love than with acts of kindness?
John 13:34-35: "A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another."
James 2:8: "Love your neighbor as yourself."
Proverbs 19:22: “What is desirable in a person is kindness.”
Acts 20:35: “It is more blessed to give than to receive.”
Philippians 2:3-5 says is best: “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus.”
Our attitudes should be the same as Christ Jesus! That is just an amazing statement. How differently we would act if we lived like this every moment of the day. There are so many ways to show kindness and it doesn’t have to be in gifts. I took these ideas from the points in the 5 Love Languages [Chapman].
- Words of kindness. Take the time to tell someone a complement or encouraging word. Either in person or in a written note, kind words can make someone’s day.
- Quality time. Spending time is an amazing way to show kindness. Inviting a friend over for a playdate, arranging an outing to the park, and visiting someone who is homebound are all great ways to show you care.
- Gifts. Whether it is a thoughtful gift dropped off at the home of a friend, mailed to someone far away, or an anonymous gift made to a stranger, there is nothing like giving a tangible form of kindness.
- Acts of Service. Labor is a free gift, yet so meaningful. I am deeply touched when I think of the kindness shown to me by others when they cleaned, cooked, painted, or watched my children.
- Physical Touch. Who knew that something as simple as a hug could show great kindness? Even thoughtful touches on the arm or shoulder can be ways to show care, concern, and kindness.
For different situations and people, different ways of showing kindness will be appropriate. For instance, if a friend has a migraine, spending quality time with her (with my 3 rambunctious children in tow), might not be the best option. But going grocery shopping or running other errands for her would be nice. If we keep the other person’s interests in mind, being nice will be easy!
“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others” (Philippians 2:3-4).