Autumn Kindness

Election season.

Does that make your soul groan, too, or is it just me?

I do a pretty good job most of the time guarding my eyes, ears, and thoughts from drama overload. (Being super picky about media intake will do that.) But as November 3rd looms, the cacophony is building, even for those of us who try to stay on the periphery. My big takeaway from watching as a political outsider: the world needs Jesus. In a culture that’s growing increasingly mean-spirited, do you know what would be bold, rebellious, and shocking? Kindness.

Webster’s 1828 dictionary defines the term like this:

Good will; benevolence; that temper or disposition which delights in contributing to the happiness of others, which is exercised cheerfully in gratifying their wishes, supplying their wants, or alleviating their distresses; benignity of nature. Kindness ever accompanies love.

Jesus told His disciples that they would be known for their love, and if “kindness ever accompanies love,” kind people should be our kind of people. When you find yourself face-down at the cross, you experience the overwhelming reality of having received the best when you deserved the worst. What if we freely extended to others what we’ve been so freely given? Here are 15 ways to practice kindness this autumn in a world gone mad:

  1. Speak life. If it’s not loving, encouraging, or helpful, take a cue from Thumper and “don’t say nothin’ at all.”
  2. Fall cleaning giveaway. As you weed through those closets, look for a few quality items you could donate.
  3. Meet a need for someone who serves you. Bake a pumpkin treat for local police, purchase a gift card for your pastor, or place some bottled waters on your porch for package deliverers.
  4. Meet a need for someone who doesn’t serve you. Pay for the next guy’s coffee. Arrange an autumn bouquet and leave it at a stranger’s mailbox.
  5. Meet a need for someone you don’t much like. If Jesus can wash the feet of Judas, you can compliment that grouchy coworker.
  6. Smile. You never know who needs a grin to brighten their day.
  7. Write gratitude. Send a thank you via snail mail to a person who’s had a positive impact on your life.
  8. Make social media more social. The next time you read a post by a friend who’s on the struggle bus, send some love in a private message.
  9. Be extra. Go a little crazy making your family feel special on a random day. Think party hats and a favorite dessert.
  10. Surprise the waiter. Go out for a cheap meal, ask how you can pray for your server, and leave a big tip with an encouraging note.
  11. Give together. Choose a nonprofit to splurge on as a family.
  12. Adopt a teacher. Pick up some extra school supplies for a classroom in need.
  13. Take care of the grands. Rake an elderly neighbor’s leaves or clean their gutters for them.
  14. Be generous with your time. Go out for pumpkin spice lattes with a new mom and just listen to her heart.
  15. Warm up. Fight off the coming chill by giving a few more hugs than usual to your loved ones.

Election season could be much more pleasant if we elected kindness along the way.

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