By: Carley Fischer
Mondays are the worst. Do you ever wake up in the morning feeling prepared for the week but when you start your day you quickly realize that there were a million things you forgot to do? All of a sudden your Monday becomes a MONDAY and crawling back into bed sounds awfully inviting. What are some things that can shift your “Monday dumps” perspective? A free coffee? A sincere compliment? A kind note on your desk from your friend? Acts of kindness like these can completely change your “Monday mindset” by lightening your circumstances and reminding you that you are loved. Jesus defined kindness and compassion by the way He loves us. We are not specifically chosen because of our good works. Rather, we are chosen because He loves us despite our failures. Some might call it a very personal, unearned, radical act of kindness. So as recipients of such elaborate kindness our lives should be full of the kindness we’ve been shown. In response to the love Jesus has showered upon us we are called to turn and love others.
We are all very comfortable with receiving kindness, I can think of several acts of kindness which transformed plenty of my Mondays. However, actually instigating acts of kindness is difficult for us for at least 5 reasons:
1. Response Culture
We live our lives in response- someone holds the door for you so you hold the door for others later. Imagine if Jesus waited for us to show effort and goodness towards him before acting on the cross – we would be destroyed. We must strive to love as Jesus loved; freely and lavishly to those who least deserve it. Jesus did not care if we wanted His salvation or if we even knew how badly we needed it. He gave it to us because He loved us. He didn’t wait for permission. The offer was made and left for us to accept. We waste so much time waiting for an opportunity to respond to someone else’s love that we miss pouring out any of our own. Jesus did not respond to ANYTHING good that we did. He FREELY gave.
Have you ever watched someone drop a receipt and then let them walk away because you just didn’t want to have an awkward interaction? I mean they probably were going to throw the receipt away anyways but what if they weren’t? What if there was a super good coupon on the back and we let them lose it because it was going to be an inconvenience to pick it up, tap them on the shoulder, and put it in their hand? Jesus was often stopped in the middle of His ministry by needy people. He never said “I’ll catch ya later.” He always went out of his way to serve and show compassion.
We often hold back from being kind simply because we are not comfortable enough in our own skin to do it. We worry that if we pay a compliment to a stranger we will come off as weird and then we use that to justify not going for it. We are so concerned with how others perceive us that we don’t freely offer kindness and support. True love and kindness is centered around the recipient and has nothing to do with if that person approves of you.
It’s easy to steer past the homeless as we travel to our destinations. We may be heading off to grab a latte with a friend and pass a homeless man on the street. We all know that slight feeling of guilt that creeps up and makes us turn away and walk past, eyes to the ground. Our Savior has encouraged us to be brave. If we cannot say hello on a street and show God’s love in the little moments then what does that say for our faith in the big moments?
The sad truth of our own humanity is that it is difficult to complete an act of kindness when you know there is no one around you to thank or praise you. There is something almost painful about not taking credit for an anonymous note or gift left somewhere. Picking up trash on the beach is a great past time when we can post about it with a hashtag that will gain likes and comments. But we were not made to seek the approval of man. People’s approval of us is fleeting but God’s approval will last forever. Jesus was rejected and beaten by this world yet He bore the cross for a much greater glory, we can handle a little non-recognition.
“Praise be to the Lord, for He showed me wonders of His love when I was a city under siege.” (Psalm 31:21)
Considering the great kindness Jesus has showed us in the form of sacrificial love are we actively responding? Are we choosing to be kind to everyone regardless of what they have done for us? Are we allowing our compassion to mirror Jesus’ or are we holding back? It is time for us to take opportunities to respond to Jesus’ great love with our actions and the way we treat others. Acts of kindness are our response to His great Act that brought us life and peace for all eternity.
Carley Fischer is a 1st Grade teacher living in Jacksonville, Florida. One day, she hopes to use her teaching experience to write curriculum for children’s ministry at her local church. Carley enjoys spending her free time biking around the beach area, in coffee shops, in yoga class, or with family and friends. Her ideal quiet time is a quiet spot outside with her Bible and a cup of coffee.