We are living in truly extraordinary times. The coronavirus crisis is bringing out the best and the worst in people. We have seen the selfishness of stockpiling food to the detriment of the wider community and especially people at risk. At the same time we have experienced the selflessness of the NHS and key workers who day in and day out are putting themselves at risk for the good of others.

The British Government’s Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak has inspirationally said, “When this is over – and it will be over – we want to look back on this moment and remember the many small acts of kindness done to us and by us”. So let’s consider how we can encourage greater corona-kindness or the spreading of small acts of kindness.

When my wife Esther and I were married the friend who preached at our ceremony spoke to the two of us and invited others to listen. He read from the Bible, “Be kind and compassionate” (Ephesians 4:32) and encouraged us in good times and bad times to be kind to each another. Kindness is also much needed in society and never more so than during the hard times.

In communities around the world we have seen  love your neighbourhood type groups get organised in order to be kind and compassionate to one another. At street level, community support groups are being formed offering help with shopping, collection of medicine, running errands and being a listening ear. These are truly wonderful acts of corona-kindness.

Esther and I instigated a love your neighbour type initiative in our street to help people experiencing vulnerability as a result of the coronavirus. So far more than 50 people have volunteered, formed a WhatsApp group to communicate and are already providing much needed support to victims of the coronavirus.

We all have a natural human instinct for self-preservation to protect our lives and livelihoods when they come under threat. There is however another part of our human identity that is about the selfless service of others. That which finds meaning, not by what we get in life but by what we give.

What our world needs now in the midst of the coronavirus crisis is an outbreak of corona-kindness, rather than toilet roll stockpiling. When this pandemic has passed will you remember the small acts of kindness done by you and for you?

Matt Bird

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