Each and every day we have many opportunities to be kind to those around us: we can open a door, allow a vehicle to merge without expressing annoyance, anticipate and meet a need.
Do we do kind deeds for a positive response or do we do a kind deed for the sake of being kind? It is worth thinking about. I think of kindness more as something for others even though it is one of those things that is a little bit for me too. I need to be more kind. It is good for me to give, even if I am not thrilled in the moment. But, most of the time, I like humanity and people and I don’t mind being kind.
Someone I know recently opened a door at a convenience store for a stranger whose hands were full. The stranger did not respond with a “thank you”. It would have been polite but it didn’t happen.
Sometimes I don’t even notice when someone is being kind to me because I am in my own little world!
The person who opened the door was annoyed at the lack of expected appreciation and snidely commented, “Well, you are welcome!” This lead to a few tense and explicit exchanges in the store in front of who knows how many people.
Folks, before we do something “kind”, let’s consider our motivation and expectations. While recognition for a kindness extended might be nice it is far better to offer it with no strings attached. It might go unnoticed and unappreciated. That’s can be okay. In doesn’t mean the kindness didn’t happen: it simply wasn’t acknowledged. When we do a kind deed for someone we don’t know, we really have no idea what is going on in their lives. I find it easier to not have expectations.
But for those people I do know? I admit, sometimes I do have expectations when I do something kind. But how often do I not even recognize or respond to a kindness extended to me. I think it is more often than I realize. I am often wrapped up in my own concerns. And to think I know what is really going on in lives of others. Do I really? I have a lot of things going on in my heart and mind that I don’t share all the time so I am sure the people I know also have things they have going on in their family and friend circle, with their health, with their faith….
The point is that it is good to consider our motivation when giving. If it is a gift, there should be no strings attached. Extending grace through words or deeds is a huge kindness that might not even be recognized until much later (if ever) but is a beautiful gift to give anyway.
Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone. Colossians 4:5-6 NIV