You may think you can condemn such people, but you are just as bad, and you have no excuse! When you say they are wicked and should be punished, you are condemning yourself, for you who judge others do these very same things. And we know that God, in his justice, will punish anyone who does such things. Since you judge others for doing these things, why do you think you can avoid God’s judgment when you do the same things? Don’t you see how wonderfully kind, tolerant, and patient God is with you? Does this mean nothing to you? Can’t you see that his kindness is intended to turn you from your sin? (Romans 2:1–4 NLT)
In her book A Revolution of Kindness, Anita Roddick writes, “The end result of kindness is that it draws people to you.” We know this is true: not only do we see it in action in our lives, if we look closely enough, but we also see this is Scripture. We are drawn toward God because of his kindness. We are attracted to his nature and person because of the kindness he never fails to show us, not just the overwhelming kindness on display on the cross but the everyday kindnesses we often take for granted: his patience when we fail to grasp some truth for the Nth time, his provision in our lives, even the rain that provides water to our world and helps sustain us. It is God’s kindness that draws us to him and invites us into a new way of life, free of sin.
“The end result of kindness is that it draws people to you.”
As Christians, if our lives are truly no longer our own, if we have been bought with the blood of Christ and choose to live as his bond-servants, it should not be ourselves we draw people to, but Christ. Our lives must carry the fragrance of the resurrection in every act, every word, every moment of our lives. We must be a sign, servant, and foretaste of God’s Kingdom here on earth. Being a person marked by loving-kindness, as well as the other fruit of the Spirit, is a key part of this.
But what does is actually look like? Small acts of loving-kindness.
In The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, Gandalf is asked why he chose Bilbo Baggins to be a member of an adventure party full of dwarves. Bilbo is an unremarkable individual mostly known, as all hobbits are, for his short stature, hairy feet, and lack of sense of adventure. In his answer, Gandalf notes the difference between his view of the world and that of a fellow wizard: “Saruman believes it is only great power that can hold evil in check, but that is not what I have found. I found it is the small, everyday deeds of ordinary folk that keep the darkness at bay. Small acts of kindness and love.”
Small acts of loving-kindness, embodied in our everyday lives through the power of the Holy Spirit, can change the world.
Jesus’s ministry was certainly punctuated by a plethora of miraculous deeds, but all of them were acts of loving-kindness toward those in need. Even though his defeat of death was no small deed, to be sure, it, too, was an act of love and kindness. The story of the young church found in the book of Acts includes many miraculous performed by the disciples, similar to the ministry of Jesus himself, but it was their loving-kindness that spread the fire of the church across the mid-East, Asia, and Europe in those first decades.
Small acts is all it takes, so long as they are powered by big loving-kindness through an even bigger God.