Tuesday, 26 October 2010

The Beauty of Kindness

I was struck recently by a phrase in common usage - ‘Random Acts of Kindness and Senseless Acts of Beauty’ – the first part of the phrase particularly struck me. Why should acts of kindness be ‘random’. To me, random implies that the act was done without forethought to no one in particular. Also - how can beauty be senseless? Beauty makes perfect sense to me – any beauty is but a reflection of our beautiful Creator God. Back to kindness though - whilst a definition I found went on to say the acts of kindness could be either spontaneous or planned, I realised it was the word ‘random’ that niggled me.

When I looked on the internet for this phrase I found a wealth of information. It is the title of books, both fiction and fact, it is a ‘movement’, there are groups set up, both on the net and within communities to promote acts of random kindness, some countries have ‘random acts of kindness’ weeks. It is a movement amongst Christians and non-Christians. The aim is ‘to make the world a nicer place’ or to ‘cheer people up’. An Act of Random Kindness is defined as ‘a selfless act performed by a person or persons wishing to either assist or cheer up an individual or in some cases an animal’ [Wikipedia]

It made me wonder about the usefulness of what I felt I had been challenged to do. Why bother, if others are already doing it? But still I felt a prompting to ‘go deeper’. I wanted to do more than make the world a nicer place. Niceness is twee – it comes and goes and can often be just skin deep. Randomness implies a lack of deep caring, a casual, maybe flippant, action.

Real kindness must surely come from, and touch, our hearts. What if the aim was not to make the world a nicer place, but to become more Christlike? What if the acts of kindness were planned, as well as spontaneous ones? Spontaneous, but not random, for they would come from a heart prepared and planning to be kind to both those I know, and total strangers.

If I really set my heart to do this, what would happen?

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