Posted on August 30th, 2013 at 7:52PM
Kindness is often linked with friendliness and generosity. Actually, when we look at the fruit of the Holy Spirit, there is a stronger slant to kindness. It is closely linked with mercy and is about doing something for someone who doesn’t deserve it.
Ouch – controversial ground! Who are we to say that another is undeserving? “Do not judge” (Matthew 7:1). The reality, of course, is that we do judge and I am sure that when people read through our requests, they find themselves doing just that. Each culture has its own scale of what is least deserving of our help. Perhaps in the UK many place drug addicts at the top of the list, and alcoholics. Others would place immigrants there who have come to the UK illegally and now find themselves in need.
The good news is that WITH GOD NO SUCH SCALE EXISTS. We are all undeserving of His love and grace and yet He showers it over us. This should inspire us to do the same.
As I think of our variety of requests, I think the ones which most exemplify ‘little acts of kindness’ are those for the £90 Debt Relief Order fee. This enables people to be freed from their debt and start afresh. For those of us working hard to keep up with bills and pay off any arrears or credit card bills, it may seem unfair that such a measure could exist. The slate wiped clean.
I have posted many success stories from our advocates about the reaction of beneficiaries of this help from Acts 435 and captured a real sense of how this little act of a £90 gift can go such a long way. I remember in particular a couple in Sheffield with learning disabilities who had over £65,000 of debt between them. Wading through paperwork, out of their depth and frightened by creditors chasing them, the transformation is huge.
Who am I to judge whether people deserve such help? I have been blessed with a good family example of how to manage money so that even when I was underemployed, I could manage a tight budget and maximise the tax credits I received in order to avoid getting into debt. The reality is that this was possible through the kindness of others, from gifts received from family and friends to government provision (something not enjoyed by my parent’s generation nor my many countries in the world).
There is a lot written about ‘acts of kindness’ from more of the friendliness aspect – a kind word, helping someone with their bags – it takes us another step further to purposely seek to be kind to those we think don’t necessarily deserve it.