I love to hear about random acts of kindness; they warm my heart. Anyone can participate in this kind of Agape love—and I do believe the person has to feel that emotion to do or give. Moreover when you are a Christian—imagine if we took to heart the scripture in Luke 10:27, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind; and love your neighbor as yourself.” Oh, what a force this would be as we infiltrate the world with this love!
I have two examples of love in action. A close friend had recently made some purchases when a guy he knew came up to him and asked for some money. My friend looked into his wallet and saw that he only had $40.00 in cash along with his credit cards. He gave him the money, without asking any questions. A selfless act that left him without a penny in his pocket. “No big deal,” you might say. However, for some people who cannot imagine being without any cash on hand, it is a big deal.
The second example is personal. While reading on the train on my commute to work, I glanced up and noticed a man begging for money. What struck me was that he was touching people! “Yikes, no, he didn’t!” I whispered to myself. I shuddered and tried to make myself small and invisible. Ha! I raised my book to blot him out, hoping he wouldn’t stop by me. But I couldn’t help myself from lowering the book to see his progress. He was actually going up to each person—and I couldn’t believe no one called him out after he touched them. A young girl eventually gave him money, but she kept looking back at him. Then it happened, she went into her bag, took out a tissue, and gave it to him. He looked blankly at the tissue in her hand and back at her, then she motioned for him to wipe his nose. He did so and walked off. “Wow, I did not expect that; a lesson for today,” I whispered to myself. The story below immediately came to mind:
“A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he was attacked by robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, brought him to an inn and took care of him. The next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’ (Luke 10:30-35)
Of course, I have given money to people on the train before and will continue to do so. The train incident is both a wonderful illustration of a random act of kindness and, incongruently, how my negative thoughts hampered me from showing compassion. My story is not yours, but we all have that inner disposition, which is not in alignment with our values and how we portray ourselves to the world. As someone stated, we are all works in progress, perfectly imperfect, but best of all, beloved by Christ!
Whether big or small, we all perform random acts of kindness. For this Lenten season, I plan to up my game—showing my love in action! I would very much like to hear about yours, which you can share here.