While you may not try to be unkind, it is very easy to settle with being nice rather than intentionally being kind to others. Kindness is deliberate acts towards others to make their lives better. It is not a feminine trait as you may think-the word actually comes from the Greek word “crestotes” which means usefulness or practically serving others. So what is the difference between being nice and being kind? Nice is smiling at the person behind you in line when you have a cart full of groceries and the cashier needs to run a price-check on something, while the person behind you is simply trying to buy a gallon of milk. Kindness is selflessly letting that person ahead of you. Being nice is talking to the lonely man sitting next to you on the bus. Kindness is visiting with a lonely man at his home. The difference is acknowledging the opportunity put before you (being nice), and going beyond ourselves, out of our own way and stopping our personal agenda to help others (being kind).

The best example of this from The Bible is the Parable of the Good Samaritan in Luke 10. To summarize, a man was traveling from Jerusalem to Jericho and was attacked by robbers, leaving him naked and dying. He was passed by two religious men who saw him and crossed the street. Finally, a Samaritan stopped to help him. He cleaned his wounds, took him to an inn, and paid for him to be taken care of. This man, Jesus says is the real neighbor. The Samaritan went out of his way to be helpful, soothing and protective. He was selfless in giving the beaten man his donkey, and walking along side, also by paying to have the innkeeper look after him. Most importantly, the Samaritan did not help this man as a way to get into God’s good graces. Rather he simply saw the man and took pity on him – he was willing to help, while the two religious men were too busy or prejudiced to care.

In order to join the conspiracy of kindness you must commit to acting, not reacting. This means being thoughtful and deliberate, and acting before you are prompted to do so. You also must be willing to do things that aren’t always easy or fun for the benefit of those who need it most. Such acts could be writing a note or making a phone call to a relative you haven’t spoken to in a while. Maybe offering to watch your neighbor’s children, so they could have a date night, or taking a meal to the widower down the street. Most importantly, when you see someone truly in need, help them – the Holy Spirit will work within you to achieve more than you could on your own power. I will leave you with words from Albert Einstein: “The world is a dangerous place, not because of those who do evil, but because of those who look on and do nothing.”