Posted by: Terri Johnston Fraracci | August 23, 2010

Deliberate acts of compassion vs. random acts of kindness?

I recently read a post on twitter that said, “The world does not need random acts of kindness, we need deliberate acts of genuine, tangible compassion.”  At first, it struck me wrong. I believe the world does need acts of random kindness. I also believe we need deliberate acts of genuine, tangible compassion. I don’t think this is a case of only one being needed or serving a purpose.

I found myself thinking about this for quite some time. I think the poster was expressing frustration at what he perceives as people’s willingness to let random acts be enough. Anybody can easily show a kindness. You can throw change in the toll booth for the car behind you, give up your place in line, grab a candy bar for someone to cheer them up. Random acts of kindness are often spur of the moment acts; and even when someone determines to commit one on a certain day, it doesn’t require much forethought.

Deliberate acts of compassion require planning, work, and commitment. To be compassionate every day requires the heart of a servant. Acting in compassion is ongoing, never-ending, and comes at a cost to the person living their belief. That cost may be physical, financial, emotional, or often, some combination of the three. It is not a one time , but an all time commitment.

I don’t believe that the world doesn’t need random acts of kindness. They are one of the biggest small things you can do. How many times have you heard of such an act making someone’s day, lifting someone’s spirits, renewing their belief in the good of mankind, and yes, even saving the life of someone about ready to give up. Random acts of kindness are very powerful spiritual tools that bless both the giver and the receiver. Gifts of kindness do change and sometimes even save lives.

I do believe that the world desperately needs deliberate acts of tangible, genuine compassion. Perhaps the poster was frustrated at how some people are only willing to give the easier gift when the need for genuine works of compassion is so great. In his frustration, I think he may have overlooked the value of random acts.

To me, one is no more important than the other. In an ideal world, more of us would commit both acts willingly, and with love, because both acts serve a great purpose, and both acts contribute to a better world.

Deliberate acts of compassion vs. random acts of kindness? No. Do both. Plan and execute acts of tangible compassion in any way that you can. In addition, be open and ready to seize the opportunity to change someone’s day for the better by gifting them with kindness. Both types of acts are beautiful ways to express your gratitude for this precious life that you have been given. You don’t have to choose one over the other. Both serve powerful purposes.

Photo by Ed Lourdon

The greatest virtues are those which are most useful to other persons.- Aristotle

 *Photo – Ed Lourdon

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