Article: The Power of human kindness

Newry Cathedral News

Forget about the elusive ‘elixir of life’ or the commercial journey to achieve happiness. We all have it within our powers to affect all those we meet, converse and engage with. In our modern world where so much value is placed on material belongings, financial value and commercial balance real, lasting and rewarding success is often misinterpreted and misguided.

In our material, superficial world we witness the celebration of material success and achievements it is important to remember that the true essence of life as a Christian lies in our ability to connect with others on a deeper and much more rewarding level. Life is not about linear milestones and metrics, it is not about being rich, well educated, popular, hip or even being perfect. Life in the true reflection of Christ’s teachings is much more profound. It is about being kind, compassionate acting with warmth, empathy and welcoming to all we meet.

If we strive to live our lives in Christ’s footsteps and act in kindness, we find that it is an extremely powerful tool. Acting in kindness not only assists those we engage with and helps them on their life’s journey it also helps ourselves, it unburdens and transforms our livers

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Against such things there is no law.

Galatians 5:22-23

In the literal reading of the scripture verse above, kindness sits at the centre, and it is at the core of our lives also. Here are three simple steps we can all take to improve our lives and those around us and let us see for ourselves the power of our actions by embarking on a journey into kindness.

Step 1. Act of Kindness

Kindness has no boundaries or limits. Kindness transcends social status, educational qualifications, bank balances, material worth and fame. A simple act of kindness can touch a person’s heart and leave an indelible mark. Regardless of your act of kindness, a smile, a warm greeting, a simple wave of acknowledgement, a helping hand, or a genuine gesture they all carry the message of kindness from you to the recipient. We should all embrace the power within us to make a positive difference and through these actions we are messengers and disciples of Christ. 

Step 2 Reaching out

Empathy builds bridges. Every time we reflect and put ourselves in someone else’s shoes and understand their struggles, we then have the capacity and ‘position’ to see thigs differently. This simple process empowers us to foster a sense of unity and compassion. We don’t have to blindly agree with everyone, but rather acknowledge their experiences and emotions and be open, listening and caring. As we reach out and strive to be more empathetic listening, supporting we enrich our world and that of all we encounter – friends. 

Step 3 Size doesn’t matter

Every act of kindness gets magnified beyond our imagination, our seemingly small acts of kindness ripple into big impacts. Like a stone thrown into a still pond, even the smallest act of kindness can create a wave of positivity that go on for ever, beyond the boundaries of your current space and place. This ‘butterfly effect’ is your small change, reaching out through kindness which is a starting condition that leads on to wonderful unimagined outcomes for allThe real catalyst hers it that it’s not about the magnitude of the action, but the intention behind it. As you reach out, offer a helping hand to a stranger, lend an ear to a colleague in need, greet a stranger, exchange a warm smile with a neighbour, these small gestures have a profound and lasting impact on the lives of others

I have often said to my children and others that when you meet someone in the street reach out, smile, and say hello, this may be the only greeting or smile these people get in that day.

Let us all strive to be the manifestation of Christ’s teaching, let us celebrate the beauty of kindness, let us encourage all to build this into the centre of our daily lives and let us all endeavour to be kind and act with empathy, warmth and compassion.