That sinking feeling started in my stomach as I realised what I had just done… I tried the front door handle a second time and sure enough it was well and truly locked. Walking around the side of my two story unit, I wondered if there was anyway to break in, but no options presented themselves. My husband Alex was still hours away from getting home, and he had our only spare key. I weighed up my options. The next minute I found myself knocking on the door of the house across the road from me. I had never met or talked to anyone in my street but an elderly lady came to the door and introduced herself as Heather.

As I rambled on about how I had locked myself out, I asked if she happened to know if the strata manager had a key to our apartment. He didn’t have a key, but suggested that I should try our Real Estate agent. My heart sank again as I thought about the long walk to the agents because keys are unfortunately an essential thing for cars as well. I thanked her for her help, and was about to walk away when she caught me off guard with the offer of a lift!  My jaw dropped and I thanked her profusely.

A couple of questions ran through my head as we drove to the agents – why would she offer a lift to someone that is a complete stranger… and I can’t believe how readily she is willing to offer her time and resources!

Kindness particularly shown by strangers can sometimes be so surprising but as I’ve since discovered there is more to kindness than we realise. Kindness is so crucial, not just for those we show kindness to… but for ourselves as well! Here’s three reasons why it pays to be kind:

1. WE are wired for kindness

In a recent study, the University of British Columbia suggested that we come into this world wired to prefer kindness. Infants and toddlers were shown a puppet show with a kind character and a mean character. Afterwards they were given the option to play with the puppet characters and 80 to 100 infants preferred the kind puppet. We were made in God’s image. Born again with His spirit living inside of us. We can live in line with our innate preference for kindness, created in us by our maker, when we practice choosing to be kind.

2. it has health benefits

The health benefits and studies done to scientifically back kindness are numerous, with some suggesting it helps you live longer! Another study suggests it helps with mental health by promoting positive physiological changes in the brain associated with happiness! Kindness can also reduce stress that is associated with a variety of health problems! In a 2006 study by two colleagues from Hopkins University and the University of Tennessee, people who provided social support to others had lower blood pressure than participants who didn’t.

3. god asks us to be kind

Ephesians 4:32 says Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.’ The ultimate act of kindness was that God forgave us while we were still sinners and gave his Son in our place. He is the perfect example and as his children if we want to become more like him everyday, He has given us pretty straight forward instructions. I later learned in conversation that my neighbour is a born again Christian and it was then that I had a lightbulb moment – her offer to help is a result of her willingness to pass along the kindness she has already been shown by her Saviour.  It made a big impact on me.

It pays to be kind, you never know what it could mean to someone, it has health benefits for yourself and it’s living the way you were truly meant to live, sharing the kindness that Christ has already shared with you! This World Kindness Day, have a think about one thing that you can do to show kindness to someone today!

Written by Ashley Carr – Announcer on The Long Lunch