Circles of kindness

A Christian Science perspective on daily life

One very snowy day I was in the garage getting the car ready for errands.

Wanting to help me out, my wife grabbed a shovel and went to the end of the driveway to whack away at the ridge of snow left by a snowplow. Around the corner came a man in a bright red pickup. Motioning her to step aside, the driver lowered his blade and plowed a swatch of the packed snow all the way up the driveway. He had just plowed out his mother who lives down the road.

"Can I finish this for you?" he asked her.

"Sure, thank you," she said.

I asked, "How much can I pay you?"

"Aw, nothing," as he began plowing the whole driveway.

Turning to me, my wife said, "What can we give him?"

"How about a jar of that fresh carrot soup you just made?"

"Perfect," she said, and he thought so too.

After he left our driveway I could see his mother coming our way, so I stopped her. I cleaned the snow from her headlights and told her it was a little bit of payback for her son plowing us out. She was on her way to give home nursing care to a lady.

As I stood at the end of the driveway I thought for a moment how contagious kindness is. It's often a circle that pays forward into more good deeds. In this case it started with the mother needing to get out to nurse someone. Then her son plowing her driveway. Then my wife grabbing a shovel to help us. Then the man plowing us out. Then the carrot soup. Then my cleaning off the mother's headlight. We saw other things that day, evidence of the natural flow of good deeds. Kindness does that, prompting even more good. Like compound interest on a savings account.

Why does this happen? Because love and kindness are qualities of God, divine Love. And because divine Love is infinite and limitless, good deeds have a living quality. They spill over. They have a beneficial action that doesn't wear out. Good deeds, when based on divine Love, bless both the giver and the receiver. Love generates love.

Each of us, as children of God, is selfless, loving, and thoughtful. The less we identify ourselves as selfish and suspicious mortals, and the more we identify ourselves as God's loving ideas, the more kindness and goodness we express and receive. We see our Godlike nature being manifested in Godlike deeds of blessing.

Christ Jesus, whose life abounded with good deeds toward others, whether feeding the hungry, redeeming the sinner, or healing the sick, preached what he practiced. He said to his disciples, "Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again" (Luke 6:38). The Revised Standard Version says, "Give, and it will be given to you; good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For the measure you give will be the measure you get back."

Mary Baker Eddy, who founded Christian Science, wrote this about Jesus' love: "Out of the amplitude of his pure affection, he defined love" ("Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," p. 54). The law of unselfish divine Love not only blesses individuals and neighbors, but also has great potential to bless communities and nations. This is often seen in smaller communities where the townspeople look out for one another and find themselves spontaneously lending a helping hand when someone is in trouble. It can also happen in urban neighborhoods. It's like an unspoken system of benevolence by barter. No one asks to be paid because the joy of helping is reward enough.

As citizens of a world deserving to be free from conflict, competition, and callousness, it's good to know that the kindness we show to one another will have a multiplying effect to bless our world neighbors, at least to some degree.

Kindness never stops where it starts.

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