Walking Our Faith: One hundred acts of kindness
August 10, 2018
The other day I was in line at the post office in Breckenridge. A woman at the counter had brought a letter to be weighed to see if she had enough postage. Unfortunately, her letter was 50 cents short and she had left her wallet at home. Behind me, a voice said, "I've got it," and a man stepped forward to pay her postage and buy a stamp of his own.
A week before this, I was listening to a podcast and a pastor related how he had challenged his congregation to commit to a year of one hundred acts of kindness. At first, I thought that was a huge challenge, but one hundred acts of kindness would only require a commitment of one act every 3.65 days. Not bad, even the most curmudgeonly among us could manage a smile every four days.
What would be the point of such an endeavor? I'm not advocating an army of people with those smiley-face emojis we use to disguise the identities of people on our Instagram posts.
My inspiration comes from a sense of desperation and concern. If you watch the news or listen to it as I do, you get the impression we have become a polarized nation. We no longer engage in calm political discourse; we call one another names.
The man who spent 50 cents to help a stranger send a letter probably thought nothing of it. But I’ll bet the woman shared his kindness with her friends, who felt happy for her good fortune and affirmed that there were still good people in this world.
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We have retreated to extremes of left and right, and from behind the ramparts of our new radical beliefs, shout invectives toward the other side. Anger has become the new calling card of America.
I have been more than guilty of it myself. So outraged by the injustice I see in the news, I use Facebook as my personal soap box. But I'm exhausted. More importantly, I realize it doesn't reflect well on my desire to live for God. To share God's love for us, no matter our political views.
I am a stalwart believer that light overcomes darkness in every situation. I believe the pendulum eventually returns to center. That kindness and goodness eventually become the balm that heals cruelty and hate. I am an optimist, not because of a Pollyannaish outlook, but because it is the bedrock of my faith in Jesus Christ.
The benefit of one hundred acts of kindness, even if carried out sporadically by a handful of individuals, is to become light in this time of political darkness. To become the pebble dropped into the pond which spreads waves of light outward. Impossible?
The man who spent 50 cents to help a stranger send a letter, probably thought nothing of it. But I'll bet the woman shared his kindness with her friends, who felt happy for her good fortune and affirmed that there were still good people in this world. Perhaps, out of the 10 who heard the story, maybe one will remember it and perform their own act of kindness, and the ripples spread further.
His small act of kindness made such an impression on me that it became the inspiration for this column and now I'm sharing it with you. One small act, so many ever-widening ripples of light.
The ROI — Return on your Investment — in kindness is that it nourishes your soul. When people question our belief in God, who asks us to love our neighbor as we love ourselves, we are not only being obedient, we are demonstrating that being a believer causes us to strive to be more like God.
To not only be the hands and feet of Jesus Christ who fed thousands with a few loaves and fish. He who eventually gave himself to become the Bread of Life, but also to change who we are, for the better. We dismantle the often-true claims that people of faith are sometimes hypocrites, pointing the finger at the sins of others, but turning a blind eye when the sinner is one of their tribe.
What does one hundred acts of kindness look like? Things great and small that we see each day and can join or create. The purchased stamp, or cup of coffee, giving an hour of two of your time to a charity you care about. A smile and "please" and "thank you" to the overworked, underpaid server who waits on you, and a generous tip.
Instead of engaging in heated political arguments on social media, one hundred acts of kindness become volunteering for a political candidate, an environmental organization or supporting a cultural event that speaks to our heart.
Can these one hundred acts of kindness and light overcome a world of darkness?
In response to a politician bragging about grabbing women by the genitals, more women than ever on both side of the political spectrum, are running for office this year and winning their primaries.
No matter the eventual outcome, the ripple effect is that our young women will be inspired to believe that government made up of equal numbers of men and women is a natural outcome of having a population with an equal number of men and women.
When we walk in our faith, and act, even if it's only every four days, we can change the world.
Suzanne Anderson is giving a talk about faith and the writing life and having a book signing on Saturday, August 25th from 3-5 pm at the Next Page Bookstore on Main Street in Frisco. She will have copies of her most recent books: Comfort Me Cookbook, her children's book: Henry's Guide to Happiness, Knit Together, a compilation of her Summit Daily faith columns, and her latest novel, A Map of Heaven. Please stop by to say hello!
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