What exactly is kindness? If you’ve ever looked up a dictionary definition of kindness, you might be surprised and disappointed – you usually get something like: ‘the practice or quality of being kind’…

I think we’re just supposed to know what it is… but what really is it?

He didn’t need to do it, this stranger,

But he quickly shouted out to me:

“You’ve dropped your wallet, friend!”

A simple act of marvellous honesty.


Her thoughtful visit and merry manner,

Were just the tonic for that dreary day.

Somehow life was all the better now:

A friend had drawn me out of dismay.


He slowed down and signalled to me,

Where many had pressed on their way.

He let me out on the busy main road,

Otherwise, I’d still be there to this day.


The brutality of the galleys darkened

Valjean’s soul: he was hateful of all men.

The bishop’s profound act of kindness,

Turned him back towards the light again.


Such acts of kindness touch the heart,

As we appreciate the benefits brought.

These acts are all the more special, as,

Freely bestowed, they can’t be bought.


What is kindness then? Love in action?

To do something beneficial for another,

When there is no compunction so to do?

Early learned in the arms of our mother?


An openness to look out for others’ good?

The constant awareness of another’s needs?

Springing from abundant good will to all, a

Common currency beyond all formal creeds?


The kind act, powerful in its uplifting force,

Will ripple outwards and encourage same,

Inviting the recipient to minister in turn,

Touching others with its warming flame.


Kindness can turn a life around, especially

When the benefit is brim with healing grace:

A single cup of water may save precious life;

Practical love taking an absent God’s place?


For kindness is ‘the wise use of the heart’;

The Kingdom’s secret weapon against hate.

The cousin of mercy, and sweet child of love;

Kindness will cause goodness to reverberate.