Entering a local book store to pick up a couple of Joyce Meyer’s books that I’ve been meaning to read, I noticed a small crowd of women gathered around a book display in an aisle, so deep a crowd that I couldn’t even see what book(s) or author they were clamoring around and browsing through.
As I got close enough to peek through the crowd to see the display clearly, I smiled as I realized they were all surrounding Joyce Meyer’s book called The Love Revolution, and also a little surprised at the sheer number of people surrounding the display since the book isn’t a new book but was published back in 2009.
Joyce Meyer isn’t the only person who has been talking about the need for a love revolution, as I’ve heard many other well-known and not-so-well-known public speakers and spiritual leaders discussing the need and vital importance of a revolutionary-type movement to practice random acts of kindness and providing help towards our family and people we know and love, but especially towards our neighbors and complete strangers.
Before reading The Love Revolution, I didn’t know much about Joyce Meyer, her background or her ministry, other than occasionally seeing her on television giving a sermon, or watching a few of her videos online to get a feel for who she is and what her Christian beliefs are. Joyce understands the many reasons why so many people don’t go to church anymore, and it was refreshing to actually read for myself that she made no negative judgements towards Christian believers who for reasons of their own no longer trust or believe in “organized religion” and no longer attend church services.
Practice Acts of Kindness and Love
“I take up compassion and surrender my excuses.
I stand against injustice
and commit to live out simple acts of God’s love.
I refuse to do nothing. This is my resolve.
I AM THE LOVE REVOLUTION.”
The quote shown above is the motto, creed or covenant crafted by Joyce Meyer Ministries, calling upon people around the world to be the person who helps a friend in need, helps a stranger in need, by practicing aggressive acts of kindness and love.
The Love Revolution book provides many ideas of how we can all practice loving kindness towards others in a revolutionary way, that brings joy and happiness in meaningful ways. “Being thankful rather than complaining like most people do, being patient, merciful, willing to forgive offenses, kind and encouraging and friendly.” The goal is to be a giver, to love people and add good flavor to their lives, smiling at people we encounter throughout the day.
There are many ways we can offer up our gifts of love and kindness towards others. Gifts don’t always have to cost money, but sometimes they do. Offering up free gifts of our time, energy, talents and skills by volunteering to deliver meals to the elderly, tutor a child, provide a meal to someone who is ill, delivering a meal to a family with a newborn baby, running errands or buying groceries for someone who is homebound, helping someone move to a new place without hesitation or complaint etc are just a few of the many kindnesses we can and need to extend to others with a generous heart.
Recently, as I was walking out of a grocery store, I happened to notice an elderly man off into the distance sitting on an electric cart provided by the grocery store putting his purchased groceries into the trunk of his car. Suddenly one grocery bag burst open and the items he’d purchased hit the ground and began rolling under a nearby car and other items spread several feet away from him where coming cars might run them over. As I began to run towards the man to help him recover his lost items, two women and a man who were much closer than I was ran over and scooped up his items and kindly put them into the man’s trunk, as none were damaged. The elderly man smiled and thanked his thoughtful helpers, even offering to give each a “tip” for their kindness, which they kindly refused and went back to their own cars. Such a simple gesture as that, kindly helping a stranger obviously in need, was a beautiful thing to witness.
“I am only one, but still I am one, I cannot do everything, but I can do something and because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do the something I can do.” – Edward Everett Hale
Joyce Meyer explains in The Love Revolution that she believes the root of the problems in the world are due to selfishness and greed. We’re bombarded by “stuff”, pressure to acquire and buy, buy, buy. She says we should all learn to buy what we need and some of what we want and then “let’s learn to give a lot of our possessions, especially ones we are no longer using, to someone who needs it.” I could not agree more. Donating things we have but no longer use can go a long way towards showing loving kindness and generosity toward people in need who are unable to afford buying them on their own.
Not only is selfishness and greed running rampant in society, but the world also lacks gratitude and personality responsibility. People want what they want and they want it now. In her book, Joyce Meyer explains that a generation of children are being raised to be selfishly minded and entitled because kids are given too much too soon, and are not being taught the valuable lessons of privilege and responsibility.
“We often buy them a bicycle a year before they can ride it or a car when they turn sixteen. We pay their college bills, buy them houses when they get married, and fill those houses with expensive furniture. Then, when our children end up in financial trouble, if it’s at all possible we get them out of it and are there for them every time they need us. We do these things in the name of love, but are we really loving our children are we just pampering them?” Joyce advises parents that while we are to model generosity and kindness, we also must exercise discipline and restraint in how much we do for our children, and at times saying “No” may be the best gift we can give our children, in order for kids to grow up to become independent responsible adults.
Modelling generosity, helping others, being thoughtful, kind and generous with our resources and gifts in whatever ways we can must also include balance. Loving people and wanting to help others does not mean allowing them to take advantage of us, selfishly using us, giving them a free ride in life while they do next to nothing. One-sided relationships, relationships in which one does all the giving and the other person does all the taking, is not a real relationship and always leads to resentment and bitterness.
Anonymous Random Acts of Kindness
My preferred and favorite way of helping others through random and Not-so random acts of kindness and generosity is anonymous giving. Doing things anonymously to help others is not always possible, but doing nice things for others anonymously gives me a lot of personal joy. Being thoughtful, kind and generous in anonymous ways is only known to me and God, and that’s all that matters to me.
I don’t worry about or concern myself with how others may think of me and the things I do for people, especially when doing various kindnesses that can’t be done anonymously, as I do kind things to be obedient to God rather than a desire to be “seen” or praised by others.
Coming up with ideas of ways to be kind towards someone else is often a matter of learning to listen, really listen. Listening carefully to what someone is saying and making notes later on goes a long way in creating a list of things the person or family needs, where those needs can be taken care of by one or more helpful people who are desiring to make a difference in the world. (Hint: Always carry a small notepad and pen in your purse or pocket to jot down notes.)
“Do all the good you can, by all the means you can, in all the ways you can, in all the places you can, at all the times you can, to all the people you can, as long as ever you can.” John Wesley
Maybe someone needs you to spend a little time listening to them. Maybe they’re lonely or depressed and just need someone to be friendly or hospitable towards them. Maybe someone is in need of a sincere compliment or encouragement. We must always be mindful to Look for Kindnesses that we can extend to others.
Was that parking space you wanted, that someone else took before you could get to it, really so important that you had to become impatient and angry about it? Let it go. It’s not that important. The next time someone is hoping to get the parking space you’ve got your eye on, kindly let the other person have it and maintain a good attitude about it.
“To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that the prisoner was you.” – Lewis B. Smedes
Has someone said or done something that hurt you in some way? Let it go. Forgive them and let it go. Give people the benefit of the doubt, bear with others’ faults and weaknesses just as you’d want others’ to do for your faults and weaknesses. Forgive one another and move on. We can choose to accentuate the positive. While there are lots of things we all do that tend to irritate or hurt one another from time to time, we can choose to be kind, loving, patient and forgiving – remembering we’re all imperfect, we all make mistakes, and we are all in need of mercy and forgiveness.
In The Love Revolution, Joyce Meyer gives examples of people who intentionally and unintentionally hurt her in various ways. Extending forgiveness towards someone who unintentionally, without malice, hurt her made it easier for her to forgive and let it go. Forgiving someone who knowingly, intentionally and with malice, hurt her (namely, her own father) was something Joyce wasn’t sure she could do. With God’s help and through lots of prayer, Joyce was able to show tremendous kindness and forgiveness towards those who purposely and willingly hurt her.
There are many websites, including randomactsofkindness.org, that offer many great ideas of how we can all be loving and kind towards others through random acts of kindness, giving of our gifts, talents and resources. Helping others and being kind and generous extends far beyond our own families and groups of friends or next door neighbors. Find out what people need and be part of the solution, overcoming evil with good, through aggressive acts of kindness toward all you come in contact with each and every day.