I don’t know if you managed to catch the performance of Lewis Capaldi at Glastonbury this summer. He is an incredible singer, but also not free from some mental health concerns, he is prone to panic attacks, a shoulder twitch and a recent diagnosis of Tourette Syndrome.  If you listen to him in interview you’ll also see that he suffers with imposter syndrome manifest by his very low self esteem.  And in the middle of his most famous song “Someone You Loved” in front of 100,000 fans the issues began to surface leaving the superstar unable to sing. And so, 100,000 fans took over, singing every word as Lewis stood on stage overcome with emotion. No boos from the crowd who after all had paid hundreds for their tickets, just compassion and kindness.   

Philippians 2:15 asks that in the midst of darkness we “shine among them like stars in the sky” and I wonder if the simplest keys to doing just that are those incredible gifts of grace and compassion and kindness. I wonder if one of the key areas that we have been called to model in front of our children are these twin keys of compassion and kindness. And I wonder if those around us will be more willing to listen to the good news of the God we serve if they see us engaging with our family, our friends, our neighbours and the stranger … especially the stranger, and all from a position of compassion and kindness.   

It seems to be key to everything Jesus did.  Mark 1, a Leper comes to Jesus and begs for his healing, the Bible says, Jesus has compassion on him and healed him. Mark 5, the demon possessed man is set free and Jesus tells him go home and tell them I had compassion on you.  Mark 6, Jesus sees the people are like sheep without a shepherd and He has compassion on them and feeds five thousand.  

But let’s flip over to John’s gospel and see some more wonderful acts of kindness outworked. 

If we go to John 2 we’ll see the first miracle at Cana of Galilee. Jesus protests to his mother that his time has not yet come, but Mary is having none of it, these people will be embarrassed that they have run out of wine, they need more, fix it!  Even the son of God has a mother! And Jesus does. Motivated by kindness and compassion he turns water into wine. No deep spiritual truth, no fulfilment of prophecy, just kindness.   

John 4 introduces to the Samaritan woman at the well. Jesus asks for water. He asks! He makes himself vulnerable. She has something he needs. A conversation emerges about places of worship and water that brings eternal life. But Jesus wants to talk about the woman. You have had many husbands, and the one you are now with is not your husband. But there is no condemnation – she’s expecting it, but it doesn’t come. Just kindness and compassion and grace flowing from Jesus.   

His strong words of rebuke are reserved for the Pharisees with their moral absolutes and hard and fast list of laws and rules and regulations.   

In John 5 there’s a disabled man at the pool Bethesda. The story goes that at certain times an angel would move the waters and if you could get into it you would be healed.  But this man had been there for 38 years already. When Jesus is told how long the man has been there, he asks him if he wants to be healed. The man explains that he can’t get to the waters. No, do you want to be healed?  Yes. And so motivated by compassion for this man, he heals him.   

Kindness and Compassion and Grace. Our most effective tools for mission. 

And then let’s pop to Luke 23 for one of my favourite demonstrations of grace and compassion and kindness. It’s completely irrational.  It will show you that grace will not be restrained by rules. In verses 42 and 43 Jesus is in agony hanging on the cross and yet a conversation takes place with the thief beside him, “Will you remember me when you come into your kingdom?” asks the thief, and Jesus through the agony responds, “today you will be with me in paradise.” Sorry! What!!  This thief doesn’t have a denominational affiliation, no personal conversion experience, I’m not even sure he’s a Christian!  And that’s what happens when the guiding principles become grace and kindness. People get into heaven and we don’t know how!  

I was leaving the supermarket recently when an older gentlemen asked me the way to Currys – the electrical store. I pointed in the right direction and told him he could drive there in 10minutes. He informed that he had walked here from him home, but he was sure he could walk across in 20minutes. He set off on his mini pilgrimage. As I arrived back at my car it began to rain.  I live in Wales and we have a lot of types of rain.  This was the standing under a very strong electric shower with the temperature turned to freezing type! The gentleman had made it to the far side of the car park when I drove over and picked him up, assuring him that I was not an axe murderer which likely made him a little more nervous.  I dropped him at Currys – it took me less than a minute out of my way, and ensured an old man didn’t spend the rest of the week with the flu. No time for a gospel message or the handing out of the obligatory tract. Just kindness. A relatively anonymous act. Well, relatively, I did make sure my family knew what I did.  But I’m pretending that was down to modelling fruits of the Spirit!   

The church and by inference Christians have a PR issue. We tend to be perceived as dull, dreary, depressing, sombre, sanctimonious and known primarily for what we’re against.  Known for our rules and regulations. But I wonder instead if we should be perceived as passionate, creative, engaging and dare I say it…humorous.  Shining like stars in the darkness. Known for being kind. For being the sort of people who give old people lifts to Currys, or the sort of people who lift our voices in song to support the performer who is struggling or… 

I want to ask you to provide the or! Over the course of the next few days, with friends or family or complete strangers, just be kind. And be kind anonymously and spontaneously.  Not drawing attention to what you do. Just be kind. And encourage your family to model kindness to. And I wonder what impact these acts of kindness might have. I wonder if kindness can be transformative.



Mark Griffiths is married to Rhian and they have three grown up children.  He has been a children’s pastor, community evangelist and a vicar, he is author of numerous books and his PhD in in child evangelism and its connection to church growth.  He has spoken on the need to win rising generation all over the world.  He currently works for St Padarn’s Institute where he trains ministers and curates for the Church in Wales as well as running an MA Specialism in Ministry to Children, Young People & Families (www.stpadarns.ac.uk/MACYF).