Kindness

Over the last couple of days the word ‘kindness’ has been going round and round in my head.

I really need to get into the parts of it that run deeper than the surface of the meaning.

What comes to your mind when you think of kindness?

The definition the dictionary gives is ‘the quality of being friendly, generous and considerate.’

Sounds pretty obvious, perhaps we could end it right there, but I believe there is way more to it than that.

The dictionary goes on to say ‘a kind act.’

Now I think we are starting to get somewhere.

Kindness is an action, in the same way, love is an action. We often think of love as a feeling, but love is revealed much more powerfully in the actions we take to show it, and as Joy Margetts says in her new book ‘The Healing’,

‘When we help someone in Christ’s name, it is an act of worship.’

I think most of us would say we are generally kind. We say kind words, encourage one another, and may even do a few acts of kindness, but what if, when we look a bit deeper, we are actually missing something through what we ‘think’ is kindness.

God says ‘Kind words are like honey, sweet to the soul and healthy for the body.’ Proverbs 16:24

Would the people you speak to be able to say this about your words?

It’s easy to open our mouths, but it’s what comes out of it that’s important.

We say that we are being kind through discipline, ‘discipline in love’, but what if when we are discipline our children our words come from a place that seeks to satisfy our own needs. This can cause problems because then the words become mixed with our own desires, justifications and feelings instead of dealing with the deeper issue that are taking place.

Ok, so it could be that your children are just trying to ‘push your buttons’, but there usually is a reason why.

So, as i’ve done so many times, when I’m disciplining my children, instead of finding out why a situation is happening and getting to the root cause, I’ll open my mouth too quickly and jump in.

Have you ever found yourself asking the ‘why’ questions over and over again? We are good at trying to figure things out by ourselves instead of being upfront in situations. This only leads to it festering in our hearts and minds and starts to take root. This is now an unhealthy root that is waiting to be pulled up and thrown out, like a weed but more difficult to get rid of.

Whereas, if you can do what is right and speak truth sincerely (psalm 15), if you can be honest with others, and true to yourself, acting in kindness, you might find that there could be an explanation you didn’t even consider.

This can be applied to any situation. It could be your marriage, a family member, even a mum at the school gate.

Getting to the bottom of a situation doesn’t always need to be a sit down talk or long discussion, especially when children are involved! From my own experience of discipline that doesn’t work with my kids, but then, I suppose it depends on how old your children are.

It could mean just throwing a quick question back to them with all that God desires for us, compassion, humility, gentleness, and patience as a way to get them thinking for themselves about something. It’s a good starting place! Colossians 3:12.

If you can be honest with others, and true to yourself, acting in kindness, you might find that there could be an explanation you didn’t even consider.

Each situation is different, and if there’s no time to talk, take some time to go through it with your child later on in the day. Just make sure you let them know you’ll be talking about it later and it might give them some time to think about their own words and actions, or – they might just forget it ever happened! It will also stop you from saying things you regret! You might not even need to say too much once it comes to the time for discussion.

In Colossians 3:12, we are told to ‘clothe yourselves’ with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.

This should be encouraging, well, it encourages me anyway! It tells me that I am not naturally all these things, I will mess up. I need to make a choice to receive them, and behave or respond in a certain way. Kindness does come down to a choice, as with many of the decisions we will make. It also comes down to examining our own hearts and seeking to take the right action so that we can ‘lead blameless lives’ (psalm 15).

Kindness might be described as ‘easy’, but actually, there are times when it can be really hard! Sound strange?

Well, sometimes we have to speak the truth to be kind, and that can be hard. Sometimes we have to discipline to be kind, and that can be hard too. Sometimes we have to give something up to be kind, that too might be a hard choice. When kindness is being revealed in truth and in action, in the same way, that love is revealed through our actions, that’s when we make bigger sacrifices.

This takes me straight to the feet of Jesus, who made a much bigger sacrifice when he died for us on the cross, and praise God, HE IS RISEN!

Jesus said, ‘Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing’

Luke 23:34 NIV

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