By Jenniffer Mann
Someone recently shared a post with me, that I’ll share with you too. The visual was of a long corridor filled several layers deep, with balloons all of the same colour. The story behind the visual is this.
“They brought balloons to a school. One was given to every student, who had to inflate it, write their name on it and throw it in the hallway. The professors then mixed up all the balloons. The students were given 5 minutes to find the balloon they had written their name on.
Despite a hectic search, no one found their balloon. At that point the professors told the students to take the first balloon that they found and hand it to the person whose name was written on it. Within 5 minutes everyone had their own balloon. The professors said to the students: ′′These balloons are like happiness. We will never find it if everyone is looking for their own. But if we care about other people’s happiness… we’ll find ours too.”
Looking out for the wellbeing and happiness of others, is not something that comes naturally to most people. Self-preservation dictates that we look out for self, first. From a spiritual standpoint, everything about Jesus and who He is, leads us to not only help others but to do so from a genuine position of love.
As a Christian, as I strive to be intentionally kind, I use Jesus as my compass. I realise that this may sound trite but the simple truth is, there is no greater example of self-sacrificing love. When Jesus Christ died on the cross of Calvary, He could give no more than He gave. In that monumentally concentrated period of grief, pain and suffering, Jesus proved beyond a shadow of doubt, that His love for mankind is above all reproach.
For many of us, helping others in the most minor of situations becomes an internal debate about where it will leave us. If I help this person, I’ll have less time to do ‘X’ or if I give them this much, I won’t have enough to buy the item I planned, or if I help this one time, they will take advantage.
The other thing we like to do, is make our help a reciprocal situation, meaning we give but store the giving away in our minds to cash in the act at a later date. “Oh, you know when I helped you out with the ‘X’, I was wondering if….”
Sometimes, the kindness is also conditional upon the person heeding our advice. “Well…I’ve told them and they didn’t listen, so I can’t do anymore!”
I am forever thankful that Jesus’ compassion and patience never left me in my most stubborn, unheeding times!
The truth is, Jesus wants our kindness to be so ingrained in us, it requires no forethought. In Colossians 3:12 we read:
Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering;
When we experience the real, deep, transformative love of Christ, a direct result of this is a desire to love and help others.
This is not the kind of love that issues a mental I.O.U. (acknowledging a debt) but the kind of love that says, “when I love you, I glorify Christ and the love He so graciously bestows upon me.”
Just like the balloons and students in the illustration, Christ has placed His people in society to help others on this journey called life. To show them through the hope within us, that they too can have that same hope in Christ.
So let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not. As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith.Galatians 6:9-10
If we have to rationalise helping (I just deleted where I followed this statement with “those less fortunate than ourselves” but kindness should not be discriminatory), the taint of the world is still on us.
When the love of Christ touches our innermost core, our old self is crucified also. Only when I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless, I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.
Committing ourselves daily to God in prayer, asking for the infilling of the Holy Spirit and putting the needs of others above our own, reaps a reward far greater than any earthly gain.
As surely as you are inhale oxygen as you read this, someone around you is in need of kindness. The question is, how in-tune are you with the Holy Spirit, to recognise their need?