Acts of kindness, the ones that really matter, are anything but random.
If something is random, that means it occurred by chance or without reason. But kindness is when we do something considerate–on purpose–to benefit someone other than ourselves. Or when God puts us in a situation and prompts us to act in a helpful manner. And we do it.
That’s not random.
What Do Nonrandom Acts of Kindness Look Like?
Nonrandom acts of kindness are:
- Intentional acts we take to address the needs of someone else.
- Sacrificial, things we would not do otherwise, and not for our own benefit.
“But there are gifts that hold more power and impact than random good deeds. These acts of kindness tell someone that you know them. They communicate that you’ve noticed their needs. They demonstrate that you’ve made a sacrifice on their behalf.” (Suzanne Hadley Gosselin)
It is when we make the phone call, or pause to talk, or set up lunch with a friend who is hurting, or give someone a hand, or simply cheer someone up. Not because we necessarily want to, but because it is the right thing to do.
We can plan nonrandom acts of kindness with people we feel led to help. Or simply by making ourselves available. And also by being ready to respond to opportunities God brings our way.
Are God’s Acts of Kindness Random?
Nothing God does is random. Nor are the things he asks us to do.
The Bible tells us over and over again to be kind, and to do so intentionally.
- “Do to others as you would have them do to you.” (Luke 6:31)
- “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” (Acts 20:35)
- “Be kind to one another.” (Ephesians 4:32)
“Deliberate acts of kindness do the good that Paul speaks of in 1 Thessalonians 5:11: ‘Encourage one another and build each other up.’” (“Practice Non-Random Acts of Kindness” by Suzanne Hadley Gosselin)
From the world of Recovery, the Twelve Steps (in Step 12) speak of being of service to others after “having had a spiritual awakening.” In other words, the more in tune we are with God, or the more “awake” we are spiritually, the more we will feel inclined to act kindly toward others.
God will give us those opportunities. If we ask him to present us with situations when we can be kind, and then keep our eyes open, we will come across people in need of help. Such divine appointments may seem happenstance at the time, but they are anything but random.
And anytime we act in kindness, planned or spontaneous, God doesn’t see it as random at all.
What If We Don’t Feel Like It?
Frankly, I’m not naturally the kindest of people. I don’t think I’m often mean, but I can come across as curt or even inconsiderate at times. Plus, I’ve always got things I need, or want, to be doing, so taking time to help somebody else is inconvenient.
Slowing down to be kind gets in MY way. Hmmm, come to think of it, perhaps that’s the point.
Does an act of kindness mean as much if we don’t feel like it? Probably, if we still choose to help someone anyway, and we do it with a glad heart.
What about if we get satisfaction from it? Does that still count? It depends on why we did it in the first place. If it was for the other person, not ourselves, and we also felt good about it, that’s fine.
Doing kind things can, and should, brighten our day. In fact, the more we do good things for people, the more likely we are to enjoy them.
Over time, we can build a habit of nonrandom acts of kindness.
Try it. For a week, perform at least one deliberate act of kindness each day. Be considerate or helpful, rather than self-serving. And do it on purpose.
That is what nonrandom acts of kindness are all about.
Question: Who is one person you feel you should be kind to?
Action: Today, be especially alert to situations God brings your way to be kind.