Today’s blog will be a short one. Not everything needs 1,000 words.

For the longest time, I thought being kind and being nice were essentially the same. Kind people were polite, civil, gentle. Maybe even a little bit passive and easy to push around. Being described as “kind” was a nice thing, but hardly a strong descriptor.

Then one of my friends shared a little piece of trivia with me that floored me.

The word “kindness” comes from the root word for nation or tribe—the underlying meaning of the word is not “being nice,” but treating someone like they’re one of your own.

In Biblical times and contemporary ones, kindness is a radical position. It demolishes the rules that govern how you treat “ours” and how you treat “theirs.” It erases the human compulsion to turn other people into monsters or demons. Kindness, in the truest sense, is the fulfillment of loving someone else like you love yourself.

Kindness compels us to speak up for strangers—after all, who wouldn’t speak up for a brother or sister?

Kindness compels us to defend the vulnerable—after all, who wouldn’t defend their own mother or father?

Kindness compels us to nurture parentless children—after all, who wouldn’t nurture their own son or daughter?

If we understand what kindness requires of us, kindness would turn us into pillars, trees, and mountains. Immovable. Inevitable.

What Kindness Actually Requires of Us