Don’t Mistake Kindness with Goodness

By | February 9, 2019

[February 9, 2019]  There are plenty of practical lessons for leaders to consider in their journey to better understanding people.  Goodness is one of those universally desirable attributes that indicate that this is a person who is trustworthy.  However, judging people by their kind acts can be misleading if you’re looking for goodness.  Some folks display a façade of kindness that hides their true inner being.  The lesson I’ve always followed is to be careful and not mistake kindness with goodness.

Two-doors down from me when I lived in Texas, was a wonderful family.  They would do anything to assist others and even had their kids helping an elderly couple with upkeep on their lawn.  As good Christian people, they believe it was better to give than to receive.  I liked them, and we got along well.  One day a kind woman came to their door asking if they were interested in a free driveway coating.

A “free” anything from strangers is usually a neon sign that indicates something is amiss.  I spoke with the family and advised them to be careful with this stranger.  But they insisted that because this “lady” was so kind that they could trust her.  As you might guess, things didn’t turn out so well.  The family was charged $10,000 for the driveway work; they had signed an agreement that stipulated that amount even when the ‘kind’ woman had told them the work was free.

The lesson here is don’t mistake kindness with goodness.  In another town, I knew a family that had a wonderful mother who was smart (she had earned her doctorate in college), articulate, and giving of her time to a local women’s shelter.  She was the epitome of what a college-educated professional should be; productive at work, volunteering to help others, etc.  One day, she simply walked out on her family.  She had decided that she would be better off without her husband (who was a great guy) and her four young children.

I’ve seen this problem often.  We mistake kindness for goodness, and the results can be good, but it can also be ugly.  We infer, not unreasonably, from a person’s kindness that they are trustworthy and a good person.  This is not always the case.  Take great care in how we judge people and do not rely on only one side of them.

The Texas family was unable to get out of their agreement with the “kind” woman.  This woman showed up in the municipal court and exhibited a great deal of sympathy.  The presiding judge was impressed with her and, frankly, so was everyone there.  She had the business of being kind down pat.  So beware!

Please follow and like us:
Author: Douglas R. Satterfield

Hello. I'm Doug and I provide at least one article everyday on some leadership topic. I welcome comments and also guests who would like to write an article. Thanks for reading my blog.

18 thoughts on “Don’t Mistake Kindness with Goodness

  1. Ronny Fisher

    What words mean does matter. Oft times we blur the difference in use of these two words when we should be careful to distinguish what we mean.

    Reply
  2. Max Foster

    Kindness and goodness are two virtues you should cultivate in your life. Although both are virtues, there is a distinct difference between kindness and goodness. Kindness is the quality of being generous, considerate and friendly while goodness is the quality of being virtuous or morally good.

    Reply
    1. Fred Weber

      Agreed! Goodness refers to the quality of being virtuous or morally good. Also, this is the exact opposite of evil. We often associate qualities such as integrity, honesty, and uprightness with goodness. Moreover, we can also include other positive qualities such as kindness and generosity in goodness.

      Reply
    2. Greg Heyman

      In brief, goodness is righteousness in action as it involves doing what is right and encouraging others to do good. As a religious concept, goodness generally deals charity, continuity, happiness, love and justice.

      Reply
  3. Janna Faulkner

    Another look at the difference in the two. I appreciate the thought by Gen. Satterfield that goodness rises above kindness.
    “he key difference between kindness and goodness is that kindness mainly involves being generous and considerate, and helping others whereas goodness involves righteousness in action or doing what is right.”
    Here is the link to more info on it.
    https://www.differencebetween.com/difference-between-kindness-and-goodness/

    Reply
  4. Drew Dill

    Definitions here might be revealing.
    Goodness: The quality of goodness is an all-round tendency toward behavior choices that conform to God’s moral laws.
    Kindness: The quality of being friendly, generous, and considerate.

    Reply
    1. Scotty Bush

      Kindness and goodness are virtues and values in many religions and cultures. Kindness is the quality of being generous, considerate and friendly while goodness is the quality of being virtuous or morally good. The key difference between kindness and goodness is that kindness mainly involves being generous and considerate, and helping others whereas goodness involves righteousness in action or doing what is right.

      Reply
    1. Albert Ayer

      The Bible says, Jesus went around doing goodand healing the sick. Before He ministered, He did good to people.

      Reply
    2. Maureen S. Sullivan

      What’s the difference in kindness and goodness? Kindness is more about our attitude and goodness is more about the things we do for others. Some people are born with a kind, gentle personality.

      Reply
  5. Dennis Mathes

    Another good article for my early Saturday-morning read. Coffee is good. Dog is at my side. …and reading your blog.

    Reply
  6. Army Captain

    Yes, a common mistake. I’ve seen it work against all types of relationships.

    Reply
    1. Georgie M.

      As always, great to hear from you and read your perspective on these articles.

      Reply
      1. Roger Yellowmule

        Yes, I agree with you Austistic Techie. Thanks for complimenting Army Captain.

        Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.