Bible Reading: Philippians 4:8-9
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable,
if anything is excellent or praiseworthy, think about such things.
Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me, put it into practice.
And the God of peace will be with you.
Kindness, according to ‘The Kindness Test’ on Radio 4, is catching. Acts of kindness, they say, need not be extraordinary, like raising thousands for charity, in fact they are usually quite ordinary, like responding to a request for help, doing a favour for someone or helping strangers in trouble. What they also discovered is that there is a link between kindness and well-being, not just for those who receive acts of kindness, but also those who carry out acts of kindness.
I think The Kindness Test gives us a welcome insight and counterbalance at a time when society in general, and the media in particular, seem intent on finding fault in anything and everything.
But this is nothing new. Through his understanding of the grace of God and his observations of life, St Paul seems to have arrived at a similar conclusion. Instead of criticising and complaining, he is saying, look for the things in others that are true, that are noble, that are right, that are pure, that are lovely, that are admirable and that are praiseworthy, and think about these things.
And then, he says, ‘The God of peace will be with you’. Well-being. Having the peace of God within your soul.
Are there people today to whom your main feelings are negative? Can you spend some time reflecting on their good qualities and maybe, if you are in contact with them, encourage them in those qualities?
Following Paul’s instructions and focussing on the positives doesn’t gloss over the mistakes that we all make but it might help to build better relationships in our homes, our community, our church and our world.
Maybe, by recognising the good in each other, we will encourage more acts that are true, that are noble, that are right, that are pure, that are lovely, that are admirable and that are praiseworthy. And maybe, because kindness is catching, it will encourage an outpouring of kindness and a greater sense of well-being through the peace of God.
Deliver me, Lord, from a critical spirit, and help me to see and to encourage the good in those around me, that we all may know the peace of God. Amen
Everyone needs compassion