“The one who oppresses the poor shows contempt for their maker, but whoever is kind to the needy honors God.” Proverbs 14:31
A Word of Hope
Do you witness much kindness being practiced on the Internet, television or especially in the social media these days? Certainly there are still kind and thoughtful people in the world, but it seems we live in an era that values and rewards sarcasm, disrespect and outright hate as people banter back and forth about their opinions of the opposing party, their employers or even their long time friends. I click the “Like” button every time I see a post that celebrates life and demonstrates true kindness, but it takes some searching to find the gentle and generous among the detractors.
Certainly the idea of practicing kindness is not a new
one. Both Testaments are packed with quotable quotes about the subject, not
just in the Proverbs but in Books such as Hosea 11.4: “I led them with cords of human kindness, with ties of love.” The Greek Scriptures offers the
wisdom of 1 Thessalonians 5.15:
“Make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong, but always try to be kind to each other and to everyone else.” And most of us remember the famous opening of Paul’s definition of love, which begins “Love is patient, love is kind…” (1 Corinthians 13:4).
It would be difficult to find many people who would actively disagree with Paul or the other Scripture writers about the benefits to all in practicing kindness, but did you realize that being kind can actually lengthen your life? Dr. Allan Luks, an executive director of Big Brothers Big Sisters of New York City has written extensively on the subject. He is the author of four books, including The Healing Power of Doing Good, and states, through scientific studies sponsored by The Foundation for a Better Life, that random acts of kindness produce a rush of euphoria, followed by a longer period of calm called a “helper’s high” which involves the release of endorphins, the body’s natural painkillers.
The studies also show that kind acts reverse feelings of depression and decrease the stress that causes overeating, ulcers, and even the constriction in the lungs that leads to asthma attacks. Kindness heals.
May I honor you today by being conscious of the many opportunities you give me to initiate healing acts of kindness among all my neighbors. Amen
Minister for Children and Families
Order of St. Francis and St. Clare