- The gift of this new day—THANK YOU!
- Joy in Your Presence.
- The quiet of now . . . .
Your Word to me:
“Let a righteous man strike me—that is a kindness;
let him rebuke me—that is oil on my head.
My head will not refuse it,
for my prayer will still be against the deeds of evildoers.”
I’ve been thinking a lot about kindness lately; or perhaps I should say, the lack of it modeled in the public realm. That sparseness of kindness has spilled over into outright, burning hatred that appears to have no bounds. My prayers have increasingly become petitions begging, “Please Lord, help us as a nation to remember our roots, founded in the kindness and mercy of Jesus:
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son,
that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish,
but have eternal life.”
So how can we as Christians reestablish kindness borne out of God’s love? How are we to breach the chasm between darkness and light to ultimately free ourselves to love as Jesus demonstrated on the Cross? The first step is to remember what kindness is:
- Compassionate and merciful.
- Devoid of selfishness.
- Devoted to honoring the One who saves.
- Kindness IS Jesus.
Kindness, as a fruit of the Spirit, wins over the superficiality of the world’s “niceness” every time. What is the difference?
- Being nice makes YOU feel and look good. Kindness, however, is ACTION—intended to bless others.
- Kindness is fierce, brave and daring–speaking truth in love—even though it may initially sting.*
- Kindness is not about manners; it is about the heart of the giver.
- Kindness is supernatural—“God’s kindness is intended to lead you to repentance.” (Romans 2:4)
- In His kindness, God convicts our hearts to draw us closer to Himself.
- Kindness effectuates the impossible:
“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’
But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,
that you may be children of your Father in heaven.
He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good,
and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.”
How can we do this in practical terms? I learned this lesson many years ago when we shared our roof with one preteen and two teens:
Feeling very much like a single parent–my husband was away a lot in those days–one afternoon I became convicted when I realized how very negative I had become. Tired of doing battle, I had developed a penchant toward saying, “No,” to almost every request my children asked to do. I prayed for wisdom (after confessing my anger and frustration) but remained unsure as to how to address the problem.
It wasn’t long after that God’s answer came in a truly remarkable way. The next time I was asked for permission to do something by one of my kids, while not having a clear answer this came out of my mouth came, “I love you.”
Looking at me as if I suddenly had three heads, “Uh Mom, I asked if I could . . . .”
I was quiet momentarily before responding with, “I love you and I love the Lord. In fact, WE love God and you know that if we continue on this path we will likely end up sinning. If you insist on an answer right now, then I have to say, NO. But, if you will let me pray about it, then we’ll see.”
It was amazing. As I repeated, “I love you and I love the Lord,” something shifted in my mind and heart. It was as if I had been ejected out of a dark hole and was swathed in light and hope as I thought, “Oh yeah, I DO love You Lord, and I DO love my kids–we can work this out!
And we did! From that moment, rather than fretting under the pressure of making decisions, I became a praying mom–who knew?!! When my kids approached me about my answer (after asking to do something) they did so almost gingerly as they asked, “Mom? Have you prayed yet?”
As time passed, and I actually took both large and small things to God in our daily life, I found that I was able to say, “Yes!” to the majority of their requests with a modifying caveat or two. As to those times when I ended up saying, “No”— they rarely argued. (I suspect they already knew the request was unreasonable.)
As the world perpetuates hatred, it is all too easy to be caught up in it. However, we can defuse the ugliness of hatred by acting in the kindness of Christ‘s commands:
“Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved,
clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness,
humility, gentleness and patience.
Bear with each other and forgive one another . . . .
Forgive as the Lord forgave you.
And over all these virtues put on love,
which binds them all together in perfect unity.
And whatever you do, whether in word or deed,
do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus,
giving thanks to God the Father through Him.”
Colossians 3:12-14, 17
Whatever you may be facing,
if you claim Christ as Lord and Savior,
you have a choice in how you respond:
Let kindness prevail . . .🙂
All to His Glory!
*When He referred to the religious leaders as, “You brood of vipers”, Jesus was speaking truth in love. It was a wake-up call—a kindness–warning them of the danger they were in before the holiness of God. (Matthew 22:33)