Thursday, March 13, 2014

Be Kind, Please!

The dictionary meaning of the word kind/kindness is:

- of a friendly, generous, or warm-hearted nature
- showing sympathy or understanding; charitable
- humane; considerate
- forbearing; tolerant
- generous; liberal
- agreeable; beneficial

The Greek word in Scripture for kindness also means grace, (to be) gracious; (to possess) excellence in character.

Scripture tells us that kindness is one of the fruits of the Spirit:

"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control."
Galatians 5:22

But I have to tell you, people, I don't see much kindness in our world these days, from either non-Christians or Christians.

Scripture does warn us through these words of Jesus:
"Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold,"
Matthew 24:12
And I think we can all agree we've seen an increase of wickedness in our world.

A well-known Christian author has a blog that I follow on a regular basis.  Recently she posted a comment that mentioned a famous actor giving thanks to God when he won the Oscar.  As I started reading the comments under her post, I was absolutely astounded by what I read!  Venom being spewed in the name of the Lord!  True, I have no way of knowing if any or all of these people commenting were Christians, but a lot of them did identify themselves that way.  I was horrified at the way they were trashing this author's comment and comments made by others.  There was no kindness being shown and it broke my heart.

Traveling the roads these days has become somewhat of a competitive sport!!  People gliding through stop signs, going through red lights and it seems no one wants to let anyone in from a side street; heaven forbid you should lose your place in line!!  There is no kindness shown to one another on our daily commutes!

Everybody's rushing to be first in line and even in the supermarket, there's a jostling with the carts to be first at the register.  There is no kindness shown to the mother with the cranky kids or the elderly shuffling with their carts.  We're mostly disgusted because they get in our way.

What has happened to us that we have lost all measure of courtesy in our fight to get ahead?  This "Me first" generation has lost the ability to be kind; to show consideration and tolerance (I'm not talking political tolerance here) to another; to be friendly and show understanding - to the mother whose kids are crying as she's trying to get her business done at the post office; to the older gentlemen who is limping as he makes his way across the parking lot to get to his car; to the person in the car waiting to get "into the race" while dozens of cars just keep whizzing by, yet when it's our turn, we want the courtesy, don't we?

And I won't even begin to delve into the unkindnesses we spew with our mouths.  That's a topic for another day.  Does it take more effort to be kind with our words?  It certainly makes a difference in our own hearts!

Scripture admonishes us to "love one another."  In fact, Jesus, himself, said:

"A new commandment I give unto you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another."
John 13:34

And to be kind to one another:

Ephesians 4:32 tells us:
"And be ye kind one to another, tender-hearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake has forgiven you."

Another place:
"Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience." 
Colossians 3:12 (NIV)
I just witnessed something outside my window that truly blessed my heart.  We have received over 18" of snow since yesterday morning and my grandchildren were outside in the backyard playing. 

One of my grandsons was shoveling my walkway (without me asking) and another was helping him (well, mostly, he was jumping in the snow!). A few minutes later, I saw another grandson (I have 3) gently tie a scarf around the face of his younger sister. I left the room to grab my camera hoping to snap some pictures of them and the newly fallen snow. When I went back to the window, what I saw blessed my grandmother's heart so deeply. 

My 8-yr old granddaughter had apparently stepped in some very deep snow and it filled her boot.  Outside on the deck, I saw my 12-yr old grandson holding her on his lap, dumping out the snow and then trying to put the boot back on her foot.  When it wouldn't go back on, he stood up, carrying her, attempting to put her down on the walkway where she could stomp her boot back on! 

What a special act of kindness that was and how it blessed me!
That's what I'm talking about!

Unfortunately, I was so awed by what I saw that I forgot to take a picture!!

Jesus is our example:
"...after that the kindness and love of God our Savior toward man appeared." 
Titus 3:4

All grace we have received from the hand of the Father and that has been and continues to be, freely given.  Can we not also freely give grace to another?

Kindness expressed toward one another is simply God's love and grace expressed. 
Don't we want to be on the receiving end of that, too? 
What we sow, we reap. 
How blessed it feels to receive kindness from others. 
How blessed it is to extend kindness to others.

Kindness grows the soul. 
It grows our capacity to hold more of God as we continually pour out. 
In just very small, every day ordinary opportunities, we can show the kindness of God. 
We can be the gift to someone for that day.

Join me in my endeavor to do that!

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