Kindness as a Sign of Love

The kindness of strangersMy Daily Word for today is kindness. I was struck by the opening quote by French moralist Joseph Joubert:

A part of kindness consists in loving people more than they deserve.

It caught my attention because of a couple of subtle twists in the phrase. Instinctively, we associate kindness as an extension of love. But Joubert, turns that upside down and states that love is an extension of kindness. Not only is love an extension of kindness, but we are to love people more than they deserve.

That subtle twist changes everything the intention completely. Joubert’s assertion is that when we offer kindness, a part of what we offer is love. And we are to love more than what they deserve. Kindness challenges us to love unconditionally.

I’m not sure most of us think about kindness as an act of unconditional love. But when you really think about it, that’s exactly what it is. You may think you’re just manifesting a random act of kindness, but what you’re really doing is loving someone unconditionally.

Many of our acts of kindness are to people we don’t even know! When we are kind, our actions are saying, “You matter enough to me that I will hold this door open for you.” Or, “I may not know you or your circumstances – person in the car behind me – but I am grateful for this $10 bill and I’m going to share it with you by paying your toll behind me on the bridge.”

If my faith calls me to love others unconditionally, then kindness is one sign of me genuinely manifesting my faith. When I’m mindful of kindness, I am mindful of others. When I’m mindful of others I look beyond the rough exterior or erected barriers to another vulnerable human being like myself. All humanity is in need of receiving unconditional love. Kindness opens the door for us to demonstrate that love.

 

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