When I go out hiking, I often encounter special things among the dry, rough rocks. I am always intrigued by the moss that grows on the rocks and in the shadows underneath them. The bright green in the midst of the overwhelming brown gives me great joy. When I reach out to touch them, they feel lush and soft—life velvet. It is soothing and reminds me that life thrives even in dry, dusty places.
I think kindness is like this. In our world we can each be a little oasis of comfort, refreshment and softness. While the ways of society may often be hard and tough—our response can be different. As we allow the Holy Spirit to move in us and through us, to become more like Jesus—we participate in bringing the life God desires for us to these seemingly dry places. A smile can warm, greeting someone by their name makes them feel human, putting away our phones or others distractions makes us more available to others. These face-to-face interactions help us all feel a bit more special and a little less invisible.
Jesus shows us this type of kindness in his actions and encounters with others—especially to those who desired relationship and conversation with him. Throughout his days he was willing to be interrupted. He let others touch him to receive healing and broke down the walls of social taboos. He ate with those who often felt was disposable or ‘less than’. Jesus modeled how kindness looked in contrast to a first-century world that was extremely harsh.
Whatever goes on in our nation or neighborhoods, we can choose to let the Holy Spirit provide us kindness—in both receiving and also giving of the life God intended for us to live. A God who says, ““I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness.” Jeremiah 31:3. Perhaps we need to start with ourselves—being kind with our words and actions, both to ourselves and then to others.
Receiving kindness from God, who loves us, enables us to be kind to others. God’s everlasting kindness is a gift we can receive more and more as we open to living with Jesus each day, and let what we receive from the Holy Spirit naturally overflow into the lives of others.
Galatians 5:22 “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.
Ellysia Banks is a spiritual director who enjoys journeying with others in the Christian faith and loves exploring God's Creation. She has worked in different jobs, lived in various locations and hopes to be a lifelong learner. She lives in Henderson, NV with her husband and best friend--Brian, their two children--Anna and Joshua, and their two cats--Jasmine and Max.