World Kindness Day was November 13. A “random acts of kindness” event, #RAKFriday2017, was November 24. In February, another organization encouraged people to take up the practice of kindness for a whole week.
What else might it take for kindness to become less random and more of an ongoing practice? Even when people know that they should be kind, it’s not always so easy to pull off consistently. Bad news, frustration, and the sheer busyness of daily life can threaten to drain kindness from our interactions.
The editorial on the facing page highlights Singapore’s Kindness Movement and points to a deeper source of kindness than just a mandate or an on-again, off-again remembering to be nice. How can we tap into that depth of character that makes for a more sincere, consistent kindness and more reliable results?
I thought about this as Christmas approached this past year, and thought of this statement by Mary Baker Eddy: “The basis of Christmas is the rock, Christ Jesus;... is love loving its enemies, returning good for evil, love that ‘suffereth long, and is kind’ ” (The First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany, p. 260). The latter phrase is quoted from First Corinthians 13, a section of the Bible that the New Revised Standard Version titles “The Gift of Love.” The enduring, gracious love it describes is the foundation of the very qualities called for by the Kindness Movement.
That spiritual love isn’t something we generate on our own: It is a gift from the God who is Love itself and who created us as the spiritual expression of divine Love. This is particularly evident in the advent and life of Christ Jesus. His teaching, healing, crucifixion, resurrection, and ascension all showed how love that has its source in divine Love is powerful enough to overcome all types of evil. As children of God, we, too, are one with our Father-Mother. We are joint heirs to that lovingkindness that unceasingly flows from God to and through us. Everyone in the world can feel and be moved by God’s infinite love every day.
This doesn’t mean we give up confronting evil. In fact, divinely impelled kindness helps counter hate and anger. I remember overcoming many difficult situations, including illness and injuries, through the empowering realization that I didn’t have to stop loving—ever—because divine Love is always present. A growing body of research shows that I’m not alone in experiencing the beneficial effects of kindness on health and well-being. We all have the ability to naturally exercise the great gift of kindness and, in particular, to let God’s love inspire, reform, and heal us. Of course I’m still working at doing this, day by day.
It’s no wonder people are increasingly calling for, experiencing, and expressing a lovingkindness that is God-derived. May all open their hearts to the already given gift of innate kindness, which endures in the face of the most challenging circumstances, is never wasted, overcomes selfishness and hatred, and enriches our affections. The healing power of God’s overflowing love bathes us all in goodness at every moment.
Adapted from an article published in The Christian Science Monitor, December 15, 2017.
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