The world could use a strong and generous dose of kindness!
It seems to me we are becoming more and more unkind. Check out the news! Go on-line and check out the rude and mean comments. Read the tweets of those in highest positions of power. Watch almost any action movie and revenge is of highest priority.
The problem is, as social researcher Shaunti Feldhahn makes clear with plenty of excellent research in her book “The Kindness Challenge,” being unkind only exacerbates the problem. Venting and letting off steam actually is not helpful but only further activates your anger and frustration. Getting it off our chest actually does not make us feel better but only drives deeper our hurt and unkindness.
Who knew? Our Father! Jesus! After all, if we are paying any attention at all to God’s Word it makes it repeatedly clear how God is kind and His children are to practice kindness. Please ponder the Scriptures below. (I know you are tempted to jump right over them… but, if you read nothing else of this letter, a least please read these and allow them to soak deep into your heart.)
- Titus 3:4-5a, 4 “But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, 5 he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy.”
- Colossians 3:12, “Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.”
- Ephesians 4:32, “Bekind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.”
- Philippians 2:14-15, 14 “Do everything without grumbling or arguing, 15 so that you may become blameless and pure, ‘children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.’ Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky.”
- Job 6:14, “Anyone who withholds kindness from a friend forsakes the fear of the Almighty.”
Being kind is a really big deal! And the thing is, as Shaunti’s research reveals, “How we treat others is the key to having good relationships… not how they treat us.” Did you catch that? What is most important is our thoughts and actions towards others not how they treat us. Therefore, we need to stop fretting over how others are treating us and get busy and do what we can do to be kind to others. Hey, newsflash, just maybe Jesus was right about loving our neighbor as ourselves! Of course He was right! He is Truth!
By the way, it seems to me, we not only need to do better at being kind to others… but, many of us would do very well and receive much healing and come to experience more joy if we applied this same practice to ourselves. After all, Jesus did say we need to love our neighbor as we love who? Ourselves! Start being kind to yourself! Stop being your own worst enemy? Stop all of your negative self-talk about how stupid you are, how many mistakes you’ve made, how you’re so insignificant, and all of those other rotten things you habitually and repeatedly say to yourself!
We would do well to apply the popular quote not just to others but to ourselves as we, “Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.”