This year, when we’re processing so much with our own interests in mind—what’s good, are we safe and secure, and more—if our chief interest is self-preservation, how then can we engage in holding others’ interests?

Kindness is wanting what’s best for others’ benefit.

And as Ashlee Eiland describes it, extending radical kindness toward every person—regardless of social status, political views or religious beliefs—gives each person hope and rekindles a common humanity and dignity.

Ashlee is the formation and preaching pastor at Mars Hill Bible Church in Grand Rapids, Michigan. She often shares God’s message of redemption and reconciliation at conferences and events around the country, and this year released a new book: “Human(Kind): Restoring Dignity Through Kindness.”

We are created in Christ’s image, but often find discord blinding us to seeing the image of God reflected in all of us.

How do we build bridges through kindness?

How do we dialogue? What is the place of kindness in debate?

Where does kindness fit in this year, when so much of how we relate and interact has shifted.

How do we embrace kindness—and ensure that our most well-intentioned efforts to be kind aren’t actually harmful?

Show highlights include:

  • On what led Ashlee to write her book: Witnessed a lot of tension in conversations, wanted kindness to interrupt the way she was hearing conversations
  • What Ashlee means by “kindness”: seeing one another and wanting what is best for the other person 
  • How to extend kindness to those we do not know: Recall our own forgiveness
  • Why extending kindness can be so hard: In human nature to preserve our own existence
  • How kindness interplays in debate and activism: Ask what our chief motivation is
  • Sacrifice in kindness: It is inherent in kindness
  • What to watch out for when trying to be kind
  • Practical ways to offer grace, kindness and empathy in daily lives: Listen, ask of others opinions 

Good words from Ashlee Eiland in this show:

“Kind is seeing one another and wanting what’s best for the other person. It is a general sense of good-naturedness. It is wanting something for someone else’s good.”

“Inherent in kindness isn’t just an idea of ‘what is best for me.’ It is in the context of relationship. ‘How do I speak and how do I act in a way that is for someone else’s benefit?’”

“If we are going to relate to other people in a way that’s kind and empowered by the spirit of God, we have to really examine the train of our own hearts and truly ask, ‘Am I doing the work of remaining tender-hearted in the season so that I can engage with other people around me?’   

“If our chief interest is self-preservation then it’s going to be really hard to open up any possibility to engage in a healthy, flourishing relationship that holds someone else’s interest as key and as important.”

“Kindness keeps the other person’s humanity intact regardless if their opinion matches ours or not.”

“Kindness is not meant to be used for our proving that we are there to somehow save or reconcile everything by our own acts or words.”

“Beneath people’s opinions oftentimes lies a really rich story or some insight into how they were formed and shaped as children or a core conviction that was born out of pain and what they didn’t receive.”

“Now is a great time to become better listeners and to ask better questions that invite people to show us more of each other.”   

Additional resources:

Download this episode wherever you get your podcasts. Find show notes for this episode and more at caringmagazine.org/podcast.  Connect with Ashlee at ashleeeiland.com.

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