Seasonal Values – For Every Season: Benevolence, 19th December

19. Benevolence

“To feel much for others and little for ourselves; to restrain our selfishness and exercise our benevolent affections, constitute the perfection of human nature.”

Adam Smith

 © 3Di Associates Artwork

© 3Di Associates Artwork


“The simplest acts of kindness are by far more powerful than a thousand heads bowing in prayer.”

Mahatma Gandhi


Being truly benevolent asks nothing in return. Giving is not a loss – it’s a growth. You can be benevolent and “give” yourself wholeheartedly to another or to a cause without feeling as though you are losing yourself. In being benevolent, you receive too. The reward far outweighs any time, money or thoughtfulness that you afford to others.

Benevolence is a silent act of goodness. It’s done without thought, yet with great consideration. True benevolence isn’t reliant on pity or sympathy, yet at its core is empathetic living. We need benevolence in our lives. We need it as recipients and as providers.

John Bunyan said, “You have not lived today until you have done something for someone who can never repay you.”

Sometimes, it just takes a word to be benevolent. Sometimes, the person that you are giving to may not even realise what they have received until long after the giving has taken place.

In this time of Advent, perhaps we all ought to think about what we can do for someone who can never repay us. Maybe we ought to think about how benevolent we can be towards those who we care for most, and those that care most for us – as well as those unknown to us.


“General benevolence, not general friendship, made a man what he ought to be.”

Jane Austen


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