100 Millions Bits of Kindness

Sometimes the kids and I get into these conversations about why we're here and what our job is while we are. (I'm not talking about Thailand, but about the larger cosmic issues of existence and meaning, etc. Which does eventually tie into why we came to Thailand, but anyway.)

We teach them, because we firmly believe that it's true, that the purpose for which humanity was created is the completion of the creation. We were placed here, made in the very image of the creator himself, to carry out the work of completion, to bring the creation to it's greatest height and achievement. We're designed to create ourselves, each of us in the way we are given the ability to do, to bring order out of chaos, beauty out of brokenness, to participate in redemption. We were given a great deal of power in order to accomplish this mission, real power that can be used for good or ill.

(If you've ever wondered why it is that people are capable of hurting each other so and why would God allow that, just remember that people are also capable of loving and healing and building and doing incredibly great, selfless, things and they wouldn't have the power to do those incredibly good things if they didn't also have the power to use it to harm as well. You get to choose what you do with your power. You get to decide if the words you say to a child will destroy or build him stronger. You get to decide if your hands will be used to gently encourage and build up, or harm and hurt, damage and destroy. We teach our children this as well, knowing that every choice is building habits and inclinations, in one direction or another. Choose to be kind now, it will be even easier to do it again. Choose to indulge your desire to get back at someone today, tomorrow it will be an even stronger urge and harder to choose not to.)

So I asked the kids, "How do you think we finish creation, what can we do?"

I think we accomplish our mission in a myriad of different ways, like choosing forgiveness instead of hate, to pass through suffering with grace, choosing gratitude rather than self pity and complaining, to care for others rather than ourselves, to give instead of take, to love and serve instead of expecting to be served. We do this by unselfishly giving our lives for others, in grand gestures that cost us the rest of our time here on earth, and in the ongoing sacrifice of living every day more for others than ourselves. (Mothers know a lot about this one, so do fathers, and husbands and wives and teachers and all sorts of people who choose to give what they have to others.) I am convinced that daily we all hold in our power a portion of creation and it is affected by what we do with it. There is always something, right now, to be done to bring peace, life, light, and love to the world around us. (Even if the world around us is a house covered in toy trains and a poopy toddler. Or especially there. Who knows what that child will grow up to do and be.)

They thought about it for a little while and then the Girl answered, "Maybe if we say and do 100 million kind things we can get the job done."

I woke up last week to see that while we slept here on the other side of the world, someone had intentionally targeted civilians at the finish line of the Boston Marathon. Very soon after I saw a report that a US bomb had accidentally landed on a wedding party in Pakistan, killing 35 people. And after that there was an explosion, and a manhunt for terrorists, and people rejoicing over the death of one and the capture of another, and someone posted on facebook how disappointing it was that the attempt on the president's life failed. And then I read about the Central African Republic, what is largely a Christian nation, where now Muslim radical groups and the new rebel government are daily bombing Christian homes and churches and killing the children of pastors while they are out and my screen was filled with images of death, and dismemberment and destruction. I don't want to see any more pictures of blood and blown off limbs, and dead children, of bodies twisted and mangled and burned and destroyed.

And I thought, "How far we have to go! How deeply we have gone off course in our mission as humanity."

For the creation eagerly waits for the revelation of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility – not willingly but because of God who subjected it – in hope that the creation itself will also be set free from the bondage of decay into the glorious freedom of God’s children. For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers together until now. (Romans 8:19-22 NET)

Newsflash, by the way, that's us. We're supposed to have God's spirit in us and be continuing the work of reconciliation that Jesus began. This healing thing is our job now people.

But as I caught up on all the coverage, there was a lot more being said about the people who ran to help. Just as with every tragedy in recent memory, there are stories of heroes, and people who put themselves in harms way to save someone else. There is a generosity of spirit and unselfish giving of resources and care in so many different ways. If we could only focus on continuing to do that, rather than the blaming and finger pointing we inevitably shift to, maybe we could keep this healing thing on track.

I think the Girl may be on to something. One hundred million kind things, deliberately unselfish words and actions, (including politicians and tyrants and people who direct multinational corporations and generals, imagine if those people did deliberately kind things in their daily decision making,) that may be how we all finish this thing called creation, and make it a worthy place for all of us to live.

It's a start anyway.

Who knows what kindness your single act may inspire another to do for someone else.


  1. 100 million kind things. I love it :)

  2. Jo Rawal9:01 AM

    Thank you for this post, I've been wondering a lot lately about negativity and how to deal with it and why sometimes it isn't the easy choice to be kind. Sometimes the harsh


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