A kinder and more compassionate world, where kindness is the norm and not the exception, is the reason behind World Kindness Day.
Celebrated on November 13, the aim of the day is to “highlight good deeds in the community focusing on the positive power and the common thread of kindness which binds us”.
It was introduced by the World Kindness Movement more than two decades ago and is currently an unofficial observance, however, the Movement hopes to see it attain official recognition status by the United Nations.
Liz Wilson, Pastoral Assistant at St Luke’s Anglican Church in Melbourne, believes Christians should use the day to take a moment to think about what kindness means to them.
“Make an intentional effort; it’s not (the only day we should show kindness) but it gives us pause for thought to think about what we should be thinking about every day,” she told Hope 103.2.
“What’s one thing you can do? And it can be as simple as smiling at a stranger as you walk along the street because just giving someone a smile is actually an act of kindness.
“Take the opportunity to think outside of yourself, to have an outward focus on what it means (to show kindness) for other people; not just what it means for (you).”
“What’s one thing you can do? And it can be as simple as smiling at a stranger as you walk along the street because just giving someone a smile is actually an act of kindness,” – Liz Wilson, Pastoral Assistant at St Luke’s Anglican Church
Over 20 years ago, St Luke’s launched a kindness ministry that had its members involved in kindness ministries in the community.
It ran family activities in the park, sausage sizzles, giveaways of biscuits on ANZAC Day and flowers on Mother’s Day and Christmas and Easter events.
“The whole idea is giving away something without expecting anything in return,” Ms Wilson said.
“And it’s such a novelty sometimes for people to actually get something with no strings attached… people don’t have a really good understanding of kindness with no strings attached.”
Unfortunately, there is currently a pause on this ministry due to financial strain and lack of resources in the church, but church members are still encouraged to show kindness to others.
What is kindness?
It can be difficult to define kindness but Ms Wilson believes it is an action.
“It’s not just a thought or a feeling, kindness is actually when our feeling or our thought is actually put into action,” she said.
“It’s the demonstration of love, it’s the love working out of it; it’s not just the love we’re talking about, it’s when we’re walking the talk.”
She encourages people to think about how they would like to be treated and to then treat people in that way.
“Our faith and our salvation are not based on what we do or what we deserve, it’s based on God’s love and kindness for us that’s completely unmerited,” – Liz Wilson, Pastoral Assistant at St Luke’s Anglican Church
The ultimate expression of kindness was demonstrated at the cross when Jesus died, according to Ms Wilson.
“God sent Jesus into the world, Jesus went to the cross, Jesus died and rose again for us; it wasn’t because we deserved it, it wasn’t because we did anything right.
“The challenge for believers constantly is our faith and our salvation are not based on what we do or what we deserve, it’s based on God’s love and kindness for us that’s completely unmerited.”
Christians are then called to pass God’s love onto other people, she said.
“It’s a part of His love reflected in us, it’s part of what He has asked us to do, we’re showing Him off to the world.”