If you Google “acts of kindness gone viral” there’s no shortage of videos of small acts of kindness caught on film that moved swiftly through the Internet and touched millions of hearts. I too treasure these videos—which often move me to tears and motivate me to want to show greater kindness to the world. They inspire me to look around, actually notice people and their needs, and enter into those spaces with the compassion and kindness of a friend.
At a conference I went to last weekend on expanding the circle of our affection, the speaker commented, “Whenever I see random acts of kindness--those beautiful moments I want to bottle up and share with the world to make it a better place--it always reminds me of Jesus.” I couldn’t agree more! Jesus’ relatively short life on earth was made up of continuous acts of kindness. He noticed people and had compassion on them (Matthew 9:35-36). The Bible is full of examples of this. He calmed a possessed man, healed the diseased, forgave and saved the life of an adulterer, dined with outcasts, lifted up the poor in spirit, humbled the proud, gave sight to the blind, allowed the lame to walk, raised people from death, and so much more. As you read the accounts of his life, your heart is moved. Had he lived in a time of YouTube, I have no doubt almost every action and every conversation he had would be the making of a viral YouTube video displaying kindness, truth, and compassion.
Yet, Jesus’ kindness is compelling and moving in a way that no other act of kindness has been or every will be. His kindness has been present since before time began. He created the world in all its beauty and created us to enjoy it in relationship with him. When we broke that relationship and turned our backs, he made a promise to restore it. And he did! In his kindness, he came to us. “The Word became flesh and blood, and moved into the neighborhood. We saw the glory with our own eyes, the one-of-a-kind glory, like Father, like Son, generous inside and out, true from start to finish” (John 1:14 MSG).
Jesus lived a life of kindness. And since Jesus is God, his life revealed in a tangible way the beauty and kindness of God’s character, which beckons us into relationship with him. This kindness culminated in his unmatchable display of sacrificial love as he--who was perfect, sinless, and undeserving of punishment--took our sins upon himself and paid the penalty we deserved on the cross.
Lord, thank you for your kindness to humanity and for all the ways you show it. Even more, thank you for your great kindness to me. You came for me--a woman who had nothing to offer, who was nothing special, and who turned her back on you time and time again to follow her own way. You pulled me from the mire, drew my face toward you, poured out your love on me, forgave me for all my failings and misdeeds, and gave your life for me so that I could dwell with you, in your kindness, forever. May you give me your eyes to really see the people around me and may you give me your grace to show your kindness to the world for as long as you have me here!