The Power of Kindness

“This is my commandment: love one another as I love you.”
Friends in Christ, love of God, and love of neighbor, this is the cornerstone of the Christian life. Love of God we know. Love of neighbor – well, that can be the hard part! Now love is expressed in many ways, but one of the most powerful ways, is by the virtue of kindness.
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Father Faber[i] gives a very good conference entirely on the subject of kindness. Here are a few ideas he gives. ‘Kindness’, he says, is constantly bringing strayed souls back to Christ; kindness can open hearts that were stubbornly closed. Probably the majority of repentances, began because of an act of kindness. We’ve no doubt seen the cruel boy at school who antagonizes everyone and is always unhappy – perhaps we’ve also seen, how an act of kindness, the hand of friendship offered from another child can change that boy overnight.
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‘Kindness has converted more sinners than’ debate or logical reasoning’ ever did. And if debate or logical reasoning converted anyone, it was because it was done with kindness.
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Kindness can draw out from a person hidden virtues. Having felt the kindness of another, suddenly that person himself can show a generous heart and even empathy toward others. But not only on the outside – kindness offered to a person can change them on the inside. A new self-respect is brought alive, a sense of the dignity of being a child of God can be recognized, maybe for the first time. A kind act has picked up many a fallen person who has later gone on to do great things for Christ.
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It is true, that in the lives of all people, the angels are always trying to guide them. Angels are always around, giving their best effort. In addition to angels, God sends a stream of grace, always seeking entry into our souls. But along with angels and grace, a third group of figures are seen to be everywhere; making sad people smile, making the angry calm; the sick stop complaining, and the bitter become hopeful. These figures have a strange and wonderful power. People listen to them, who before did not listen to angels. They gain admittance into hearts which were otherwise closed to grace. These are the acts of kindness which are daily working in God’s service, everywhere on earth.
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It is in our power to do this almost daily. To change a person’s life by our acts of kindness.

 

[i] Spiritual Conferences, Father Faber, p. 16-17.

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