One of my MIL's many qualities was her kindness. True Kindness. Anyone who knew her would say that and it was spoken of many times at her funeral. Is that something others would say about you? As we move on to this week's blog, Stefaney Lockwood prepared a blog on Kindness for us this week. Enjoy ...
I am currently reading Kelly Minter’s The Fitting Room for the second time. Bronie and I referenced it during our “Best Wardrobe” lab at Scripting Her Epic. We have also had the pleasure of meeting weekly to discuss the book with two other awesome ladies. This past week’s homework focused on the virtues of kindness, humility and compassion.
Many of you experienced firsthand the Katrina and her destruction. I watched it all unfold from my living room in Alabama. Our family had just experienced Ivan and his wrath, the year before. My family watched and prayed for days for you all, not knowing one day we would have the joy and pleasure of calling many of you friends. While I can only imagine what your experiences were like, I can relate to being without power for weeks, with no food or water except what was brought in by strangers. It was surreal to be on the receiving end of kindness from strangers. A smile or a nod from the ones handing out ice, water and MREs was a lifeline for us.
I was born and raised in the Deep South and kindness comes naturally, or at least I thought so until I read this week’s homework. My momma raised us three kids to look out for each other, and to always help out when we can. But is that all there is to kindness? It is easy to show kindness in the midst of tragedy, but what about every day?
I would like to share with you Kelly’s words on kindness. Kelly says, “ I’ve become so familiar with the word kindness that I’m afraid I’ve tempered it a bit or maybe even stripped it of its power...because out of all the virtues it’s the one that seems pretty doable in most settings...everyone can tap the hammer of kindness, right?” The words kind and kindness have begun to lose their power. We tend to use them like we use love, “I love coffee’, “I love that blouse” or “I love to read”. Kindness doesn’t mean a whole lot as a compliment except that a person is really nice. Now please bear with me, I am not saying that kindness is not important, but let’s look at what the Bible and Kelly both say about kindness. Kelly goes on to say, “When kindness is fueled by the Holy Spirit, it is set apart from the cheaper version of friendliness or adrenaline-based sympathy. It’s when the easy-to-come-by smiles and patient attitudes that are fueled by self start to run out, and you realize that sustainable kindness is energized by something far more enduring and powerful than the common grace of mankind- by the Person of Jesus."
Think about the people in your life that you consider to be kind. What makes them kind? A few observations might be: they listen, draw others out, express genuine interest or concern, are gentle, and are able to speak a hard truth in love. Kind people don’t gossip or focus on unflattering stories about other people. They aren’t short tempered, self- centered or explosive. Of course, no one is a perfect example of kindness, but that type of kindness originates from the heart of God. Christ was focused on the interest of others, and if we want to be Christ-like then we must shift our focus too.Jesus deals a blow to the Pharisees’ “outer“ righteousness in Matthew 12:34-35 by saying, “For out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks. The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in him and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in him.”
In Philippians 2:4 Paul writes, "Each of you should look not only to your own interest, but also to the interest of others." While we search for what authentic kindness looks like, we need to be aware that one of its enemies is selfishness. God doesn’t ask us to neglect our own needs or desires. Looking out for others is about the position of our hearts. In Philippians 2:20-21, Paul writes about Timothy: “I have no one else like him, who takes a genuine interest in your welfare. For everyone looks out for his own interests, not those of Jesus Christ.” Timothy was not interested in others to make himself feel better or to impress God, he was interested in what interested Christ.“Christ is interested in the welfare of people, and kindness is one of the greatest ways we can show this selfless interest” (p 138, The Fitting Room) If we want to attain authentic kindness, then our speech and actions must reflect Christ. True kindness may be the only picture of Christianity that some people see.
Be Kind, Be Authentic, Be Blessed!!