There’s an old saying that love makes the world go round.
But I think it’s actually kindness that keeps society humming along, despite what is happening around us in the world.
In the midst of reports of terrorist attacks, horrific crimes and the plight of homeless people and those in detention, we need to see some hope.
And it’s little acts of kindness that give us that important injection of hope in humanity.
Recently, a woman wrote to a newspaper, thanking two anonymous women who had separately helped her elderly husband, a recent stroke victim. He had lost his wallet, and the woman who found it rang him and he drove to her place to be reunited with it, thanking her profusely.
On the trip home, he lost his way, so he blocked the exit of a car in a driveway and asked the driver for help. This woman simply said ‘Follow me’ and guided him home.
As the letter-writer commented, ‘Such good deeds are affirming, and need more coverage than thefts and terrorist attacks.’
Sadly, catastrophes make good copy for news editors, which makes it even more important that we look for good news when we are assailed on all sides by depressingly bad news.
Another unexpected little act of kindness came at a church service recently, when the priest picked up a violin he had hidden behind an altar and quietly played the melody his congregation recognised as the music to St Francis of Assisi’s beautiful ‘Make Me a Channel of Your Peace’. It was his gift to lift the spirits of the worshippers that morning.
A story I recently came across showed that a little act of kindness was the resolution of a dispute a resident had with a council, feeling she had been over-charged. It’s next to impossible to get a bureaucracy to correct things on the spot, but the council supervisor reviewed the matter and, to the resident’s amazement, told her she was right, the council was wrong, and that they would refund the money. He also added ‘Have a good day’—and he meant it.
All these little episodes were never going to be the lead story on the nightly news, but they made a huge difference to each of the recipients.
We can make a difference in the world in our own small way, and there is some great advice on this in the Bible.
In Proverbs we read that ‘He who pursues righteousness and kindness will find life and honour’ (Proverbs chapter 21, verse 21), while Peter tells us ‘ Like newborn babes, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up to salvation; for you have tasted the kindness of the Lord’ (1 Peter, chapter 2, verses 2,3).
We need to bring the kindness of the Lord to our daily lives, because little acts of kindness really do make the world a better place.