Kindness–More than Being Nice

Today is National Random Acts of Kindness Day. It’s as good an excuse as any to do something nice for someone…but is nice enough?

Being kind is often confused with being nice. They are not the same thing at all.

Niceness is pretty vanilla. It’s what polite society expects of us. Kindness goes beyond smiling, perfunctory “please” and “thank yous” and trying not to ruffle any feathers.

Nice is inquiring about someone’s day. Kind is actually listening to and caring about the answer.
Nice is saying thank you to the barista you see every morning. Kind is knowing her name and that she loves dogs.
Nice resents those who don’t reciprocate. Kind reaches out to all.
Nice does what is acceptable. Kind does what is right and good.
Nice needs to please people. Kind wants to care for people.

Kindness is one of the fruits of the spirit . For Christians the kindness we extend to others comes from what God has done for us through Christ. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ has forgiven you (Ephesians 4:32).

The Christian faith is one that needs to be practiced in order to grow, so think of kindness as a faith practice–a faith discipline, if you will. Being intentionally kind is a great way to put some feet on what we say we believe (aka walking the walk instead of just taking the talk).

Being kind is more than simply meeting the minimum expectations of our respective communities. Kindness is about more than behaving acceptably or playing well with others. Kindness is one way to follow in the footsteps of Christ–reaching out and caring for those we meet along the way.

Rev. Anne Russ is an ordained pastor in the Presbyterian Church (USA), currently based in New York City. Doubting Believer provides tools and encouragement for the rollercoaster ride of your faith journey. Follow me on Facebook , Instagram and YouTube. You can also follow on TikTok. Get emails to keep up with all that is happening.

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