My husband and I love the movie ‘Wonder’ (bring tissues). This movie is about a kid who is different and his journey to find his place in middle school. He changes the dynamics of the class and at the end of this very emotional and powerful film he says, “Be kind, for everyone is fighting a hard battle”.
I love this quote so much because so many people in our society have made kindness a weakness when really it is the exact opposite. Our Lord and Savior is kind and we should be too. Ephesians 4:31-32 says
“31 Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. 32 And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.”
There is so much going on in the world right now and it can be easy to slip into bitterness or even wrath. With all the hate, uncertainty and tragedy going on, Christinas have to remember to lead with love (1 Pet 4:7-9).
Some years ago, the term “random act of kindness” became popular. I have actually been on the receiving end of that in a fast food drive through. I got up to the payment window and they told me that the car in front of me paid for my meal. Although it was only a few dollars, I was so excited and thankful. Although I enjoy the thought behind the random acts of kindness, I do challenge the belief that kindness should be done at random. I believe kindness should simply be a part of our nature (Colossians 3:12-13).
If you are anything like me, you have no problem being kind to others BUT that self-kindness is a struggle. You may find that you beat yourself up every time you make a mistake.
I am here to say that the same compassion we show to others, we have to learn to show to ourselves.
I choose to look at it this way: if I put so much emphasis on not making a mistake, then am I truly trusting in Christ to cleanse me with his blood (1 John 1:7)? If I think I have to walk perfectly in order to be accepted by God then I am putting faith in myself and not in my Lord.
Being kind to yourself means extending the grace and love of Christ to yourself, knowing that Jesus already paid it all (Romans 5:8). This is not a ticket to live recklessly, (Romans 6:1-2) instead it is a comforting blanket of security in Christ Jesus our Lord.
So how do we become more kind in our everyday walk? Here are a few things that have worked for myself and others
Have a heart of gratitude (Psalm 106). I recently talked to a sister (you know who you are :) ) about a gratitude journal. I have heard of this before but I have not practiced it myself. The idea is very simple: each day pen something you are grateful for. Another way is to have a gratitude partner. This could be a spouse or a close friend but set up a time and a frequency to talk about all of the things you are thankful for in your life. Having a grateful heart will lead to kindness in all parts of your life.
Show Empathy (Ephesians 4:2-6). I recently went through work training on this very topic. When we see someone struggling down in a hole, we shouldn’t look down and say “oh, it must stink down there.” Instead, we should climb down there with the person to support them until they are ready to climb out. Try to take on their emotions to feel what they are going through. Once we do that, we can show kindness in how we treat someone in a difficult situation.
Apply the golden rule (Matthew 7:12). It is golden for a reason. Treat others the way we want to be treated. This is a good reminder and a good practice. If we go through the exercise of continuously thinking about the golden rule, then sooner or later we won't be just going through the motions-it will become who we are.
Kindness is practiced but we have to be intentional with it if we want it to truly become a part of our nature.