Writer, Church leader, Eccentric Nut, Marketer

I'm Church Leader, Writer, Speaker, Marketer, Kindness Project Founder, Broadcaster and Superhero. But most important I'm a Husband, Father and a worshiper of Jesus.

17 June 2011

Is Kindness something you DO or ARE? Digging deeper into the word "Kindness"

Acts of kindness are common enough in our home that my kids refer to "doing" kindness. But is kindness something you "Do" or something that you "Are"?

Good question. Let's hit the kindness HOME button and look at what the word means. It's actually a difficult word to define, but the most common definition is:

Kindness = "Showing benevolence"

Interesting... so what does benevolence mean?

Benevolence = "The disposition to do good"

Interesting... so what does disposition mean?

Disposition = "The predominant or prevailing tendency of one's spirits; natural mental and emotional outlook or mood"

Now let's work backward. Your disposition is more or less the state of your spirit. The way you ARE. The default setting of your life. This is a key to understanding how everyday kindness can be sustained and transformational. Truth is that if we're honest, our disposition is not always the greatest. DOING an act of kindness here and there is not that difficult... but dealing with the deeper issues that go into creating one's disposition is tougher. These are the issues that either propel us towards, or impede us from pursuing a life fueled by OTHERS instead of ourselves.

But we CAN control our disposition to be in a GOOD place.

Don't copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God's will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.
Romans 12:2

Take it back up the word-ladder to "benevolence". Changing our disposition so that our default setting is on "GOOD" enables us to be genuinely benevolent. It's another concept. Kindness however... real kindness is in the DOING.

Dave's Definition: Kindness is the act of showing benevolence birthed out of a RIGHT spirit.

THAT is both personally, and tangibly-transformational kindness that lines up with how Proverbs 3:3-4 describes it:

Let not mercy and kindness [shutting out all hatred and selfishness] and truth [shutting out all deliberate hypocrisy or falsehood] forsake you; bind them about your neck, write them upon the tablet of your heart. So shall you find favor, good understanding, and high esteem in the sight [or judgment] of God and man

The answer to the question of "Is kindness something you 'Do' or something that you 'Are'?" I believe is... it is something you do BASED on what you are.


Julie said...

Great follow up from your talk at tweetstock5 last night. Second day in a row that you've made me want to do more and be better!

Dave Carrol said...

Hey thanks Julie! Very much appreciated!

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