'That's so random, Mom!" my teen-aged son said and rolled his eyes at what I said.
At least his usage of the word was correct, right?
made, done, happening, or chosen without method or conscious decision.
So how in the world did random get linked with kindness? Because a Marin County woman wrote on her placemat in 1982: Practice random kindness and senseless acts of beauty.
I guess it's a 'nice' little thought to do something kind for someone you would not ordinarily be predisposed to do, for someone you may not know or ever see again.
Maybe in some esoteric way it may be thought to make the world a better place, but I should like to dismantle the whole notion and up the ante.
Before Women of Passion1 today, I had emailed out the question, "What would you wear to lunch with Jesus?" My goal had been to make the women think, and engage their interest in my topic. In truth, it was a trick question because I do not think Jesus would care too much about our attire, however I do think Jesus would notice two things: our smile and interested eyes.
These two things reflect the virtue of kindness. So while the whimsical written-on-the-placemat expression linked 'random' and 'kindness', I submit to you there ought be nothing random about our kindness! The virtue of kindness is rooted in Scripture, forged on sound Christian theology and modeled over the centuries by followers of Jesus. Since the early church, disciples have walked the risky and sometimes dangerous road of kindness. Kindness is a radical way of living biblically. It's a fruit of the Holy Spirit on Paul's short list in Galatians 5. It's not a duty or an act. It's an imperative. It's the natural outcome of the Holy Spirit's presence in our lives. We exhale kindness after we inhale what's been breathed into us by the Spirit. Kindness radiates when we're earnest about living the way of Christ, the way of the Spirit. Kindness displays the wonder of Christ's love through us.2Oh yes, it does.
But hundreds of years before Paul wrote about the fruit of the Holy Spirit being in us-what we call the fruits of the Spirit-the Old Testament prophet, Micah, wrote these provocative words: He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?3
How have I missed the premium that God clearly puts on kindness all these years?
Though I have read, loved and even cherished Paul's words to the Colossians:
Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.4 I never choose a shirt, I never choose a garment without thought or intentionality, sad as that may be on some level, but I believe that is the intentionality to which Paul refers in this verse:
Choose to value and then put on kindness.
It is not as though God leaves us helpless on this score, Friends; nor is it something we can even accomplish on our own anyway. Paul captured this notion in his letter to the church at Galatia, to whom he wrote "the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control."5
Ah, Friends, therein lies the key:
Kindness is one of nine fruits (outcroppings, evidences) of the Holy
Spirit's presence in our lives; when we invite the Holy Spirit to fill
us, change us, and abide in us, these fruits naturally grow:
love, joy, peace, patience, kindness . . . !
For a living embodiment of kindness, we need look no further than our Lord Jesus Christ. O, how he loved . . . what kindness he showed! And there was nothing random about it. It flowed out of who Jesus was, and so when you and I are connected to him, it will flow out of us as well. Kindness will be a quality that typifies who we are, and I for one, want to WEAR it to lunch with Jesus,
I want it to be who I am around my home,
When I am in the market,
When I learn someone is hurting,
Feeling abandoned or marginalized.
There was nothing random about Jesus-certainly not his kindness.
May my kindness not be random but an overflow of who I am because I am connected to Jesus, filled with the Holy Spirit of God!
1 - Women of Passion is the weekly Bible study I lead
2 - Love Kindness: Discover the Power of a Forgotten Christian Virtue, Barry H. Corey
3 - Micah 6.8, NASB
4 - Colossians 3.12
5 - Galatians 5.22-23