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The transforming power of kindness

kindness 400ATRuth Starkings reflects on a simple way we can have a powerful positive impact on other people.

Recently, I found myself in a situation where I really did not know what advice to give my eldest daughter.  In the first instance, I feel that I did not give her the best advice I could have given her. The conversation stayed with me and it was not until later – in the middle of the night – when the solution came to me. The advice I needed to give to my daughter was very simple really, it was ‘be kind’.
Kindness costs nothing; however it brings great rewards. Choosing kindness is not dependent on how other people treat us. We can choose to be kind even when those around us may be unkind. Showing kindness is a strength and a quality that we are all capable of when we decide to put the needs of others before our own.
This year I have been using the Bible in One Year, (www.bibleinoneyear.org),  a free Bible reading app with a commentary by Nicky and Pippa Gumbel. Nicky is the Vicar of Holy Trinity Brompton in London and the pioneer of Alpha. A couple of months ago I read this:-
‘Kindness is love in work clothes…Unexpected kindness is the most powerful, least costly and most underrated agent of human change. When kindness is expressed, healthy relationships are created, community connections are nourished and people are inspired to pass on kindness.’
We are all able to be kind, regardless of where we are coming from. We look to God and one of His unfailing qualities is kindness. Through the infilling of the Holy Spirit we are to show the fruit of kindness. When we choose kindness, I believe we create a ripple effect that touches the lives of others, especially if, as mentioned above, that kindness is unexpected or unusual.
In the Bible, we read the story of Ruth, which illustrates how unusual kindness changed people’s lives. Ruth showed kindness to Naomi, and Naomi’s life was transformed from one of emptiness to one of joy. Ruth chose to put the needs of Naomi before her own and demonstrated unselfish love for her. As the story continues we see Boaz show Ruth extraordinary kindness, and a chapter of history is written; a chapter revealing the kindness of God through the lives of those who honour Him.
If I choose kindness then hopefully this will bring positivity into the lives of those around me. Maybe I might even be bold enough to seek those opportunities where I can show unexpected, unusual or extraordinary kindness. By making the effort to respond with kindness even when this is not the easiest or natural choice, I hope to be able to make a difference.
If I am saying and showing I choose kindness, in spite of the situation I find myself in, then this may encourage my daughter to find the strength to also choose to be kind.

Each day we are faced with moments where we can show ‘love in work clothes’. What a difference we could make if we are willing to roll our sleeves up, keep working hard and determine to be people who choose kindness. Together may we discover the transforming power of kindness.
The image above is courtesy of Ron Mader on Flickr.

ruth starkings 150CFRuth Starkings is the Family Worker at Meadow Way Chapel in Hellesdon. She also enjoys writing, and just over a year ago started a blog called ‘With Every Sun Comes A New Day.’

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