Self Care: Random Acts of Kindness

May God show you the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. ~Ephesians 2:7

One of the 30 ways to practice self-care is to practice random acts of kindness towards others. When we practice kindness, we not only make the world a better place, but we also give ourselves a gift, the gift of mental and emotional health.

I love the phrase “random acts of kindness,” a way to express in our daily lives God’s kindness expressed to us in Christ Jesus. Did you know there is a “Random Acts of Kindness” Foundation? I encourage you to check out their website, https://www.randomactsofkindness.org/, whose mission is “to make kindness the norm in our schools, workplaces, homes & communities. We work toward that goal by creating free content that promotes kindness toward others & teaches important social emotional learning skills to kids.”

Cannon Beach Community Church, where I serve as Lead Pastor, celebrates random acts of kindness every April, by practicing “serving others with love,” during the month of April. This is the Jesus way of BLESSing others. For more on B.L.E.S.S., see https://covchurch.org/evangelism/bless/. In January, we Begin with prayer for others; in February, we Listen with care; in March, we Eat together; in April, we Serve with love; and in May we Share God’s story with people who don’t know much about God’s extravagant kindness.

The Book of Ruth, one of the great love stories in the Bible, is a book full of kindness. Naomi blesses her Moabite daughters-in-law for their kindness to her (Ruth 1:8). Even though Moab was usually an enemy of Israel, these foreign Moabite women showed kindness to Naomi, a Jewish widow and grieving mother. Ruth comes to Israel, to Bethlehem with her mother-in-law, Naomi, and counts upon the kindness of others as she gleans in the grain fields (Ruth 2:2). Ruth kneels before the field owner Boaz, thanking him warmly, and declaring, “What have I done to deserve such kindness? I am only a foreigner” (Ruth 2:10). Boaz, a powerful Jewish land-owner speaks kindness to Ruth (Ruth 2:13). Boaz shows extravagant kindness to Ruth and to Naomi (Ruth 2:20; 3:2). Through these acts of kindness, Boaz falls in love with Ruth, they marry, and give birth to David’s grandfather, Obed. Ruth, a foreign women, enters into the sacred lineage of Jesus Christ. Jesus was born of David’s family, with Ruth his great-grandmother. Jesus, born in Bethlehem, came to us to show us God’s extraordinary kindness.

The kindness of Jesus healing a leper, sketch by Rembrandt (1606-1669)

Because the Book of Ruth has 85 verses, let’s consider 85 ways to practice kindness this month. Here then are 85 random acts of kindness. Find a few on this list and put them into practice as ways to Serve others with love this month.

  1. Give genuine compliments to three people today.
  2. Bring a healthy treat to work to share with co-workers.
  3. While you’re out, compliment a parent on how well-behaved their child is.
  4. Cook a meal or do a load of laundry for a friend going through a difficult time.
  5. Put your phone away when you are with others.
  6. Hang out with the person who just moved to town.
  7. Offer a homeless person your leftovers bag from the restaurant.
  8. Each time you get a new piece of clothing, donate an old one.
  9. Don’t interrupt when someone else is speaking.
  10. Email or write an old teacher who made a difference in your life.
  11. Compliment someone to their boss.
  12. Leave a nice server the biggest tip you can afford.
  13. Smile at someone on the street, just because.
  14. Let someone into your lane. They’re probably in a rush just like you.
  15. Forgive someone, and try not to bring up the issue again.
  16. Talk to the shy person who’s sitting by themselves at a party.
  17. Cut someone some slack over overlook their unkindness.
  18. Offer to help a mother with her baby stroller.
  19. Offer to mentor someone weekly, including spiritually encouraging them with God’s Word.
  20. Let the person behind you with one or two items go ahead of you at checkout.
  21. Write someone a letter. Like a real letter, on paper. And mail it!
  22. Give away stuff for free on Craigslist.
  23. Give someone a book you think they’d like.
  24. Smile at five people today.
  25. Bring in fun office supplies to liven up the workday for everyone.
  26. When you go to get something, ask someone else if you can pick them up anything.
  27. Give someone a hug.
  28. If you spill creamer or sugar on the counter at a coffee shop, wipe it up.
  29. Call your grandparents if they are still alive and tell them what you appreciate about them. Or, consider calling your grandchildren and tell them what you love about them.
  30. Write an encouragement letter to someone with a Scripture verse that has encouraged you.
  31. Pick up any litter around you while on a walk and put it in the trash.
  32. Sincerely compliment your boss or employer.
  33. Put sticky notes with positive slogans on the mirrors in restrooms.
  34. Let someone have the parking space you were waiting for.
  35. Relay an overheard compliment.
  36. Volunteer to read to kids at an after-school program.
  37. Bring your spouse/partner coffee in bed tomorrow.
  38. Try to make sure every person in a group conversation feels included.
  39. Stop to talk to a homeless person.
  40. Answer that email you’ve been avoiding.
  41. Send anonymous flowers to someone at work.
  42. Pray for your neighbors when you see them around their yard/house.
  43. Write a nice comment on your friend’s blog or refridge door.
  44. Play board games with senior citizens at a nursing home.
  45. Give someone a tissue who’s crying in the public.
  46. Listen intently and pray silently for that person.
  47. Babysit for a single mom for free.
  48. Compliment someone in front of others.
  49. Adopt a rescue pet.
  50. Hold the elevator for someone.
  51. Email or message that person you’re afraid to talk to.
  52. Remind yourself that everyone is fighting their own struggles.
  53. Leave some extra quarters in the laundry room.
  54. Write your partner a long list of things you love about them.
  55. Put together a small herb garden for someone.
  56. Empathize.
  57. Say “Thank you!” to a janitor, waitress, or other server.
  58. Talk to someone at work whom you haven’t talked to before.
  59. Frame your friend’s favorite lyric or quote and give it to them with a nice note.
  60. Send dessert to another table.
  61. Text someone just to say good morning.
  62. Help your elderly neighbor take out the trash or mow their lawn.
  63. Give up your seat to someone on the bus.
  64. Tell your siblings how much you appreciate them.
  65. Bring a security guard a hot cup of coffee.
  66. Plant a tree. Better yet, plant ten trees.
  67. Purchase some extra dog or cat food and drop it off at an animal shelter.
  68. Take photos of your friends and make them into a digital album.
  69. Smile when you feel like scowling.
  70. Wash someone’s car.
  71. Dog or Cat-sit for free.
  72. Make two lunches and give one away.
  73. Be encouraging!
  74. Help someone struggling with heavy bags.
  75. Give your friend a hug, touch their arm, or pat them on the back.
  76. Buy lemonade from a kid’s lemonade stand.
  77. Give your spouse/partner the benefit of the doubt.
  78. Do the dishes even if it’s not your turn.
  79. Be patient with others and with yourself.
  80. Clean someone’s windshield.
  81. Every night before you go to bed, think of three things you’re grateful for.
  82. Make plans with that person you’ve been putting off seeing.
  83. Call your Mom.
  84. Have a clean-up party on the beach or at a park.
  85. Be kind to yourself this week

Adapted from Jessica Misener’s list of “101 easy ideas for random acts of kindness”. https://www.buzzfeed.com/jessicamisener/101-easy-ideas-for-random-acts-of-kindness

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