Against Random Acts of Kindness (But Only For the Kindest of Reasons)

“Everyday Philanthropist” Nicole Bouchard Boles (whose Philanthropy For The Rest Of Us blog I always enjoy) reminds us that today marks the end of National Random Acts of Kindness Week.

To celebrate, I purport to write this, an upbeat, positive, hope-inducing, decidedly uncurmugeonly post entitled “Against Random Acts of Kindness.”

Who could possibly be against random acts of kindness, and why? It’s kind of like being against puppies.

Let me suggest three reasons, along with links to posts I’ve previously written that talk about each of the reasons in greater detail:

  1. Want to impact the world and yourself through giving? Then do not do more random acts of kindness but instead do fewer acts more deeply. Instead of paying for the Egg McMuffin of the car behind you in the drive-through, adopt a child, forgive (or pay off) another person’s crushing debt, or reconcile with a hated family member.
  2. You will no more become a kinder person through random acts of kindness than you will become a physically fit person through random acts of exercise. Instead, commit to predictable, recurring acts of kindness. It’s a much more likely inducement to transformation.
  3. Give to others a portion of everything you have personally received, and only what you have personally received. Each time you give you will be reminding yourself what a fortunate person you are, and you’ll be reliving a gravy day. Don’t “pay it forward,” in other words; instead, pay it backward–giving because you have received and giving a portion of what you have received.

(It might be tempting to think that random acts of kindness are the first step into a life of predictable, recurring giving, but–let’s be honest–a lot of times it ends up being an inoculation against further generosity, just like going to the gym once a month can often be followed by a celebratory swing by Coldstone Creamery because “I’ve earned it.”)

See? Not a curmugeonly thought in the bunch. Go hug a puppy, and then let’s see if we can make every week Predictable And Recurring Acts of Kindness Week.

About Pastor Foley

The Reverend Dr. Eric Foley is CEO and Co-Founder, with his wife Dr. Hyun Sook Foley, of Voice of the Martyrs Korea, supporting the work of persecuted Christians in North Korea and around the world and spreading their discipleship practices worldwide. He is also the International Ambassador for the International Christian Association, the global fellowship of Voice of the Martyrs sister ministries. Pastor Foley is a much sought after speaker, analyst, and project consultant on the North Korean underground church, North Korean defectors, and underground church discipleship. He and Dr. Foley oversee a far-flung staff across Asia that is working to help North Koreans and Christians everywhere grow to fullness in Christ. He earned the Doctor of Management at Case Western Reserve University's Weatherhead School of Management in Cleveland, Ohio.
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