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Let’s Start a Kindness Revolution

By: Guest Blogger

She barely looked up.

I pulled my cart into the aisle, unloaded the groceries onto the conveyer belt, and watched as she began scanning them. She still didn’t look up—just kept her gaze down, as if afraid of making eye contact. I stood quietly for a moment as she worked.

She looks sad, I thought. No—more than sad. Hurt. Hopeless.

“How are you today?” I asked, breaking the silence.

She jerked her head up, a startled look on her face. “Good. How are you?” A default reply.

“I’m good, thank you.” Back to silence. A familiar nudge pricked my heart. I should say something. But what? My tongue seemed glued to the roof my mouth. I shoved the thought aside.

She finished scanning the groceries. I smiled, wished her a good evening. She smiled back, almost tentatively, before ducking her head again and checking out the person behind me. I walked away.

I could’ve been kinder. Conviction pricked my heart. Could have tried to encourage her, help in some way. Offer some kind of hope.

But I didn’t. Shamefully, I didn’t.

Sadly, this isn’t the only “I didn’t” I’ve experienced.  My excuses are a mile high.

I don’t have time. I don’t know what to say. What if they think I’m strange? I’m not good at things like this.

I’ve turned away and stayed silent. Bottled the love of Christ in my heart, too sealed up with fear, doubt, and self-focus to let it pour freely. I’ve sat in church and heard messages about loving your neighbor, read verses about kindness, even prayed for more love . . . and then walked into the world, and kept it all to myself. I’ve said “no” to God’s gentle nudge.

But now I say: no more.

Kindness Culture.

Our culture has a thing for kindness.

We tweet phrases like, “Spread kindness like confetti,” hang wall art with the Cinderella catch-phrase, “Have courage and be kind,” and wear T-shirts saying, “Always be kind.”

But how much kindness are we actually spreading? How much love are we actually giving?

Most of this kindness culture is promoted by people who don’t claim to be Christians. Being kind and loving is a moral code many ascribe to, Christian or not.

But for Christians, kindness and love aren’t simply moral codes. They’re commands.

Loveless Confetti vs. Holy Spirit Love.

Both kindness and love are mentioned in the much-quoted listing of the fruits of the Spirit. “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.” (Galatians 5:22-23, emphasis added)

We look at this list and think we’re okay because we’re doing better than some people, or live out these characteristics most of the time. Like, sixty percent of the time.

But these characteristics aren’t supposed to be evidence of our own striving, pleasant nature, or relative goodness. They’re the fruit—the evidence—of the Holy Spirit in our hearts.

As Christian girls, shouldn’t the kindness and love we show be supernaturally different from the average kindness of a non-Christian? Shouldn’t the fruit of the Spirit be a little more . . . Spirit-filled?

What if we’re settling for a counterfeit kindness culture? What if we’re lowering the bar to what we can muster up in our own strength, and leaving the power of the Holy Spirit—and ultimately Jesus—out of the picture?

What if our version of kindness is more like confetti than we think? Weightless, pointless, and just a lot of surface-level glitz?

Doing it On My Own.

When it comes to showing God’s love, I often try to do it on my own. And it never works out. I feel overwhelmed when I think about how God wants me to love others, and I feel guilty when I don’t measure up. Because I never do. Looking at a world full of broken and hurting people fills me with panic, instead of compassion. Relying on my own strength and love leaves me empty-handed.

Jesus calls us to a deeper love than we can give on our own. He calls us to a more radical version of kindness. The type that goes the extra mile, turns the other cheek, gives freely, and loves our enemies while they’re hating and persecuting us. (Matthew 5:38-48) That’s why love and kindness are included with the fruits of the Spirit. Everything on that list is opposed to our flesh. They’re not supposed to be an unattainable list of things we attempt to attain anyway, but areas where we cry out to God for help. Areas where we need Holy Spirit intervention.

God knows the world needs His love—desperately.

That’s why He sent Jesus to live, die, and rise again. That’s also why Jesus commanded us to love, and why He sent the Holy Spirit to be our helper. Because the world needs more than the kindness and love we can humanly scrape together. It needs Holy Spirit-powered love.

Loving others well starts with sitting at Jesus’s feet, learning from His love, gaining a heart of sensitivity, and inviting the Holy Spirit to invade our hearts and flood us with His presence. We can’t share Christ’s love if we’re not intimately connected to the Source itself.

Practically, it can look like a hundred different ways. From taking an opportunity to share the gospel, to paying for the person’s coffee behind you in the Starbucks drive-thru, to praying with the people you meet in the grocery store, to giving food to the homeless woman on the street, to being kind to your co-worker who’s always mean to you.

God uses both small and large expressions of kindness. Sometimes simply a smile and “thank you” can be more meaningful than you know. Mother Teresa said, “Do not think that love, in order to be genuine, has to be extraordinary.”

The most ordinary actions can be channels for extraordinary love.

Looking back, I don’t know what I should have done for the girl checking out my groceries. If I’d been sensitive to God’s leading and not so wrapped up in myself, and concerned with my own comfort, I might have been able to reach out. Maybe God would have led me to ask if I could pray for her. Maybe He simply would have led me to invite her to church or thank her for the great job she did. I don’t know, but I do know we’ll never be able to reach out with a Christ-focused love if we live with an inward-focused mindset.

The point is to be so connected and in sync with God that His love flows through us, in every action, great or small, and sensitive enough to His voice to be obedient, even if the action makes us uncomfortable. Looking beyond ourselves and reaching out to others will make us uncomfortable. It’s not easy to step outside our comfort zones, and risk being thought strange or different, or even being mocked or criticized for our kindness.

But it’s time to take the risk because there’s a hurting world that needs to know a greater and more genuine love. In all my acts of kindness, may I echo the words of John the Baptist, “He must increase, but I must decrease.” (John 3:30)

Let’s Start a Kindness Revolution

Isn’t it time for a kindness revolution? Isn’t it time we drop the corny sayings and get down to the serious business of spreading Christ’s love?

On our own, it’s impossible. With Jesus, it’s more than possible.

I’m writing this from a place of learning. I don’t have it all figured out and I’m far from perfect. I struggle with breaking outside my comfort zone and showing Jesus’s love to others. But let’s learn together.

Let’s move past our paltry efforts and get serious about pursuing Holy Spirit kindness. Let’s invite God to take the little love we have and multiply it into God-sized proportions. Let’s cry out to Jesus and ask Him to fill our hearts with His love. Because it’s so much better than ours.

The world doesn’t need more of us.

It needs more of Jesus. It doesn’t need more loveless confetti. It needs to grasp the solid love of Christ.

Let’s be women whose lives are defined by the kindness we share and the love we live—the love of Christ in us.

I’d love to hear from you!

  • Have you ever struggled, like me, with trying to show God’s love on your own?
  • Why do you think God commands us to love so radically?
  • What are a few practical ways you could show kindness today?

Bio: Sara Barratt is a 19-year-old writer, avid reader, chocolate lover, and lead editor for TheRebelution. Her first book releases Spring 2020 from Baker Books. Her passion is challenging teens to live sold-out and set-apart for Jesus. Connect with her on Facebook, Instagram, and her website


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28 Responses to Let’s Start a Kindness Revolution

  1. Anita Seavey says:

    Sara!! This is so good! Thanks so much for this article – you’re always so encouraging and inspiring. <3

  2. Nelli Savchenko says:

    Thank you so much for this. You really inspired me to love others more and like Jesus!! Thank you again!!

    • Sara Barratt says:

      Thank YOU, Nelli! I’m so blessed and humbled to have been able to share what God laid on my heart! My privilege. <3

  3. Caroline Fischer says:

    Thank you so much! This has really encouraged me to be more active with my faith

    • Sara Barratt says:

      That’s such a huge encouragement and blessings to me, Caroline! Thank you so much! Praise God! 🙂

  4. Virtue says:

    So true! I needed this thank you!!

  5. Elena Melendez says:

    This is GREAT!! Thank you for sharing! I will now make a point to be more kind. 😀

    • Sara Barratt says:

      You and me both, Elena! I’m working on it too. So thankful we don’t do it alone. 🙂 Thank you so much for reading! Blessings! 🙂

  6. Shanae B says:

    About a week or two ago I was at the grocery store and had a similar situation with the check out clerk. I thought she was just being rude, but now I’m wondering if it was something more along these lines. I guess either way I missed a kindness opportunity… Thanks for pointing this out! We do need more real God centered kindness these days!

  7. Grace says:

    This was so encouraging, and it came at the right time! I was just thinking about how even a simple thing like trying to being kind can wear me out and feel so fake whenever I try to do it on my own strength. I need to start being more intentional about sitting at Jesus’ feet and asking for His love to be genuinely kind.

    • Sara Barratt says:

      Amen! Oh, that’s such a blessing to me! I’m right there with you….it’s something I’m working on and (hopefully!) growing in! 🙂 Thank you so much for reading!

  8. Amanda Krehbiel says:

    This was just what I needed right now! I have a foster sister who is extremely annoying, and gets under my skin a lot, and I’ve been trying in my own strength in stead of Christ’s to be kind to her and I’ve failed miserably. However, I’m going to make a change, this post really encouraged me! THANKS FOR POSTING THIS!

    • Sara Barratt says:

      Aww, Amanda! I’m so blessed this was a blessing to you! It’s especially hard to show Christ’s love to those we’re around all the time and who are hard to love. But I love your attitude and desire to genuinely love her despite your own emotions. Don’t give up the fight, but keep pressing into Jesus. He has the love, even if you don’t. 🙂 You are so welcome! Thank YOU!

    • Sara Barratt says:

      You’re so welcome, Amanda! Thank YOU for reading and sharing! <3

  9. Rachel Taylor says:

    I’ve certainly struggled to get out of my comfort zone and show kindness to others. I’ve had moments of silence where I felt like I should have said something but didn’t know what to say. It’s obvious that I can’t be kind to others in the way God calls me to be in my own strength. I need the Holy Spirit to fill me with true love and kindness. I’ve read a book called “They Found the Secret” by V. Raymond Edman about twenty different people who were filled to the brim with this all-covering love. Now, I think of myself as a shy person but my friends tell me I’m not. It’s not that I’m scared about what people think of me so much as not knowing what to say or not trusting God with the results.

    • Sara Barratt says:

      Wow, Rachel. I completely understand. I think of myself as super introverted and shy as well. I sometimes wish God only called the extroverts and bold people to reach out, but I think that would diminish His power in us. It’s a real battle for sure, but God promises HE has the words and He will lead us. So lean into those promises and rely on His strength. And when He gives you an opportunity, step out knowing that God is there outside your comfort zone. I’m talking to myself here too!

      Thank you so much for reading and sharing your thoughts! 🙂

    • Sara Barratt says:

      I’ve been there too, Rachel. I can so relate to your struggle. Keep pressing into Jesus and asking His spirit to fill you–He’ll give you the words!

  10. Lidia Lopes says:

    Thank you so much! We’ll start the kindness revolution!

  11. Axel NotRose says:

    Why are so many people struggling to simply be kind to others?

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