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World Kindness Day

I tell you, love your enemies. Help and give without expecting a return. You'll never—I promise—regret it. Live out this God-created identity the way our Father lives toward us, generously and graciously, even when we're at our worst. Our Father is kind; you be kind. (Luke 6:35 MSG)

November 13th is World Kindness Day. This commemorative day was introduced in 1998 by the World Kindness Movement, a coalition of nations' kindness NGOs. World Kindness Day highlights good deeds in the community, focusing on the positive power and the common thread of kindness that binds us. Kindness is a fundamental part of the human condition which bridges the divides of race, religion, politics, gender, and zip codes. Kindness Cards can either be passed on to recognize an act of kindness or ask that an act of kindness be done.

Wikipedia describes kindness as a type of behavior marked by acts of generosity, consideration, or concern for others, without expecting praise or reward. Kindness is one of the main topics in the Bible. In Book II of Rhetoric, Aristotle defines kindness as "helpfulness towards someone in need, not in return for anything, nor for the advantage of the helper himself, but for that of the person helped." Nietzsche considered kindness and love to be the "most curative herbs and agents in human intercourse." Kindness is considered to be one of the knightly virtues. In Meher Baba's teachings, God is synonymous with kindness: "God is so kind that it is impossible to imagine His unbounded kindness!"

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control (Galatians 5:22-23).

The Greek word translated as kindness in Galatians 5:22 is chrestotes, a form of chrestos. Its base meaning is useful, fit for use, with derivative meanings of useful for others - later also having integrity or value in relationships with others. The idea expressed by the shift in meaning is that kindness is useful, while harshness does harm to others. In the Septuagint (an ancient translation of the Hebrew Scriptures into Greek), chrestotes is used of gemstones to describe their value. The emphasis on deeds over mere words does not mean words are unnecessary. Action includes words. Encouraging words of comfort, courtesy, compliments, and even correction can be heartwarming acts of kindness.

Our greatest example, Jesus Christ, practiced kindness that was radical for his time and culture. He always had great concern for women and men, for children and adults, for other races and the Jewish race, and for the sick and weak and the strong. When Jesus looked on the multitudes of people with all their problems, sicknesses, and confusion, He was moved with compassion. As we look at the people around us, can we be moved with compassion too? We could be helping, giving, sharing, caring, encouraging, extending mercy, filled with compassion, and acting on it as we are able—in other words, being kind.

Kindness is a language the blind can see and the deaf can hear.

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  • World Kindness Day
    I tell you, love your enemies. Help and give without expecting a return. You'll never—I promise—regret it. Live out this God-created identity the way our Father lives toward us, generously and graciously, even when we're at our worst. Our Father is kind; you be kind. (Luke 6:35 MSG)
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