Unfiltered Kindness

Anokina Shahbaz, Volunteer Writer, Huntley | June 5, 2024

Once safely on shore, we found out that the island was called Malta. The islanders showed us unusual kindness. They built a fire and welcomed us all because it was raining and cold. 
Acts 28:1–2

Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. 
Ephesians 4:32

The pain was real. You know the kind—a new shoe you’re trying to break into by walking around in it but it’s just too tight. It started off rubbing the heel and quickly turned into chafed skin that began to peel. My poor teenage niece. Her family was visiting us for the first time in Chicago and we were walking along Lake Michigan. I had warned them all to bring comfortable shoes because there’d be a lot of walking. Though my niece had brought tennis shoes, they were brand new, and she was now limping from the pain.

We slowed down our pace, took breaks. The women in the group searched their purses for a Band-Aid and came up empty. Just when my niece was prepared to take her shoes off and walk around with her socks on, a woman walked by, saw her in pain, and stopped to offer a Band-Aid. She came to the rescue at the perfect time. It was not exactly “an unusual kindness,” but I was unusually moved by this kind gesture from a stranger. Though it may have been a small thing for her, it had a significant impact on my niece, who could now move around the rest of the day pain-free. 

“In a world where you can be anything, be kind,” the adage goes. Sounds simple, doesn’t it? And yet we often struggle with such a straightforward appeal. We have complicated kindness, putting it through endless filters before extending it. “What if they get offended?” “I just don’t have the time.” “It’s really none of my business.” 

The God we serve is not in the business of filtering anything. His commandments are clear: “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other” (Ephesians 4:32). “Love your enemies, do good to them…without expecting to get anything back” (Luke 6:35). “Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone” (Romans 12:17).

Let us be radical in our kindness, perhaps so far as to be called “unusual.” If our intention is to glorify God by serving others, no act of kindness is too small or insignificant. It all matters and God sees it. He can take what little we offer and ensure it has a profound impact. All we need to do is show up and be willing participants in His redemptive plan to heal the world. And it doesn’t hurt to carry around some Band-Aids, just in case. 

Next Steps

  • Take some time to reflect and seek God’s guidance on whether or not you filter your kindness toward others, and why.
  • Think of one “unusual” act of kindness you can do this week.