Several years ago I heard a quote that says, “You can’t always control if you’re the best looking, most talented, or smartest person in the room, but you can always be the kindest.” I have looked all over the internet and see where many people use this line, but I do not know to whom to give credit for coming up with it.
A friend of mine once said, “When you quote someone the first time, say who it is you are quoting. The second time you quote it, say that someone once said. The third time you quote it, say, ‘As I have always said.’” This may be one of those quotes.
But let’s think about this for a minute.
Robin Sharma, author and self-identified leadership expert with over 4 million followers on Facebook, wrote, “The kindest person in the room wins. I truly have found that encouraging and elevating others is the greatest gift you can give yourself.”
Michael F. Bolle, author of the recently released book The Art of Being More Likeable: The Kindest Person in the Room Always Wins the Game, explains how being more likeable always leads to more happiness and success.
Are Sharma and Bolle correct? Do we strive to be kind so that we will win? Do we teach our children to be kind so that they will win? Is kindness about you or about me? For what reason are we kind?
Is the goal of being the kindest person in the room an issue of self-esteem?
Or, is it possible there is a better reason?
When Being Kind Does Not Honor God
When I first heard the statement, “You can’t always control if you’re the best looking, most talented, or smartest person in the room, but you can always be the kindest,” I was struck by the truth in the statement.
It is true. In regard to your own self-control and awareness, this advice rings a bell. Related to parenting, this advice helps your children.
Regardless of what is true about every person in the room, in your heart and your actions, you can be the kindest.
But is it a competition? Are we actually trying to win? Do we want our children to win?
No. No. And, no.
Winning Is Not the Reason to Be Kind
Winning is not the reason to be kind. Absolutely not. When winning rules as your motivating desire, then your kindness flows out of your self-centeredness. In other words, to be kind when motivated by winning is nothing less than being selfish. Yes, someone else potentially feels good; however, the reason for your kindness rots on the altar of self-love and self-esteem.
To do something that is good but do it for a bad reason, you do not honor God in the process of doing that thing. Everyone around you may not know it. The person who receives your kindness may in fact appreciate your kindness. However, being kind for the wrong reason does not honor God.
Consider this example. I want to be liked, want you to think highly of me, and desire for you to walk away telling others how good I am. Therefore, when I see you, I greet you, offer to take your coat, offer you a seat, and offer to grab you a drink. Are all of those things kind? Absolutely. However, because my motive was wrong in doing all those things, my actions still do not honor God.
Jesus Connects the Fruit and the Root
Remember, Jesus taught “from the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks” (Luke 6:45). Here is the context:
For a good tree does not bear bad fruit, nor does a bad tree bear good fruit. For every tree is known by its own fruit. For men do not gather figs from thorns, nor do they gather grapes from a bramble bush. A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good; an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth evil. For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks. (Luke 6:43-45)
Jesus taught that the fruit cannot be divorced from the root. Therefore, to say good things (fruit) with a rotten motive of selfishness (root) makes the fruit bad as well from God’s perspective. For this reason David wrote:
For You do not desire sacrifice, or else I would give it;
You do not delight in burnt offering.
The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit,
A broken and a contrite heart—
These, O God, You will not despise. (Psalm 51:16-17).
The prophet Isaiah also helps us understand this as well (Isaiah 66:1-4). In this text, he quoted God, “But on this one will I look: On him who is poor and of a contrite spirit, and who trembles at My word.” God explained that he rejected the people’s sacrifices (good works) because He rejected their heart motivation.
Why Should You Be the Kindest Person in the Room?
You should desire to be the kindest person in the room because you are the recipient of the greatest kindness in the universe. Since God through Christ demonstrated His kindness to you, you should demonstrate God’s kindness through you to other people.
And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you. (Ephesians 4:32)
Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do. But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection. (Colossians 3:12-14)
Love suffers long and is kind. (1 Corinthians 13:4)
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness. (Galatians 5:22)
Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith. (Galatians 6:10)
But love your enemies, do good, and lend, hoping for nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High. For He is kind to the unthankful and evil. Therefore be merciful, just as your Father also is merciful. (Luke 6:35-36)
Be Kind Because in Christ God Was Kind to You
Friend, be kind with the right motive.
God will be honored in your kindness when you seek to be kind because He is kind. Strive to share the kindness of God as demonstrated in Christ to you with others.
Yes, smile. Yes, offer a seat, a drink, and a work of kindness. Do these things because in every moment of your existence, God offers you His kindness.
As you receive kindness, give kindness to others. In the teaching when Jesus sent the twelve disciples out to serve others, He said, “Freely you have received, freely give” (Matthew 10:8).
Why should you be kind to others? Because God demonstrates kindness to you.
Should someone have to earn your kindness? No, you received it freely, you should give it freely.
Should you be kind so that you can be the winner? Absolutely not. Choose kindness with the right motive to honor God and demonstrate the love of Jesus Christ to others.
Friends, in your kindness, you can be a conduit of God’s incredible grace to you. You receive grace, now go demonstrate grace to others. Kindness is a grace.
You can be the kindest person in the room because you have received the greatest kindness from God.