Not-So-Random Acts of Kindness Day

I know that I’m not the only one who has had to shut the TV off or intentionally put my phone away because of the overwhelming weight of bad news. Every now and then, I see posts shared of acts of kindness with captions that say “faith in humanity is restored.”  Look here, for many examples: https://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/random-acts-of-kindness-day-viral-inspiring-free-haircuts-homeless-veteran-funeral-a9339256.html

As believers in Christ, there are a few things we should consider about kindness and the connection it has with our mental health, faith, and relationships.

  1. Random acts à Intentional acts of service: Have you taken the 5 Love Langauges Quiz? (https://www.5lovelanguages.com/quizzes/) For many people, Acts of Service is easy—serving and feeling served are ways to give and receive love. For others, this may not be at the top of the list. However, as believers, we all have the responsibility to serve others with Mark 10:45 tells us: “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”  Galatians 5:13 commands us to use our freedom not to indulge our flesh, but to serve one another humbly in love.
  2. Service and Kindness = Love: No matter how you put it, service and kindness overflow from love. We are commanded to love our neighbors and even our enemies, that we might show them the kindness that flowed first from our Savior and allows us to overflow with love.  “We love because he first loved us.” 1 John 4:19
  3. Faith in our Creator > faith in humanity: I love that random acts of kindness give us hope in humanity and soften our hearts to improve our relationships. It’s also important to remember, that all of this, again, is a reflection of the character of God. When we see the kindness of others, let’s remember that it is so because we reflect the image of the One who created us.

Why Kindness Helps Us:

Dartmouth College created a fact sheet about kindness and the way it affects our mental and physical health: https://www.dartmouth.edu/wellness/emotional/rakhealthfacts.pdf. In a snapshot, we see these effects:

  • Increases: Oxytocin (the love hormone), energy, happiness, many pleasure hormones, lifespan.
  • Decreases: Pain (because pain receptors they are being replaced by pleasure hormones!), stress, anxiety/depression, and blood pressure.
  • Empathy: Even more important than some of the physical and mental benefits of kindness is the fact that it increases our emotional intelligence. The more intentional kindness you give, the greater your sense of empathy for others, and with greater empathy comes intimacy in our relationships.

This week, I encourage you to think about how you can serve others with intentionality throughout your life, not just on a day of celebration and see that what scripture commanded has always been for our best.

~Mary Shea