“Good job, Sweetie! Sharing with your sister was so kind.”
The four-year old girl in Children’s Church batted her eyelashes at me, fully pleased with her kind deed.
It was the third week spent discussing kindness in the toddler class and the simply-stated Bible stories and applications were nothing short of convicting.
As the little ones were taught:
Kindness isn’t just a characteristic. It’s a lifestyle. And I believe that’s the main reason it’s so hard to practice sometimes. Our human nature is sinful, and living kindly means defying that nature in order to live graciously as Jesus did.
It’s really difficult for me to remember that kindness should always be my #1 goal. Not just when I’m in a good mood or 100% pleased with the people around me. Because, let’s be honest, if we lived depending on feelings, none of us would practice kindness too often. Or… maybe I’ll just speak for myself 😉
Let’s look at the model Christ set up for us regarding a kind lifestyle.
Jesus was kind by…
- Taking time away from His duties to hold the little children (Matthew 19:14).
- Giving Zaccheus another chance to be an honest man.
- Using Peter for great things even after he betrayed Him(John 21:17).
- Providing food for the five-thousands (John 6:11-14).
- Forgiving your and my sins by taking them upon Himself.
The list is endless!
But that’s not the only list we have to look at. Jesus was kind, yes. But it doesn’t end there. Our duty is to follow in His steps.
“And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you”(Ephesians 4:32, NKJV).
So, how can we demonstrate kindness to those around us? And I don’t just mean the people we like. I mean everyone, every day, no matter the time or place.
Here are a few thoughts:
We can demonstrate (His) kindness by…
- Biting the tongue when expected to lash out (Proverbs 21:23).
- Being quick to assist instead of walking by.
- Sharing despite desires to hold back (Matthew 5:42).
- Sparing time for others.
- Encouraging someone who’s beaten down (1 Thessalonians 5:11).
We can also show kindness by physically helping and giving gifts to others! I’d encourage you to jot down some ideas on how you can tangibly encourage someone, and carry out one of those ideas before the week is over. Bonus points if that person isn’t the most lovable target 😉
A kind lifestyle isn’t easy. It’s a constant struggle and think-twice kind of process. It requires selflessness and patience.
But with God’s help, the task can be accomplished.
“But Jesus looked at them and said to them, ‘With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible'” (Matthew 19:26, NKJV).
So often we think people don’t “deserve” our kindness or attention. It’s hard to exit our comfort zone in order to help the least of these, because we somehow think certain folks are beneath us.
Please don’t let that mindset be characteristic of you!
Jesus constantly lavishes love and kindness to us, whether we’ve earned it or not. Truth be told, we’re not as easy to love as we like to think. Not always easy to tolerate. But Jesus is compassionate and patient nonetheless.
So, next time you’re tempted to elevate yourself above others in order to avoid inconvenient acts of kindness, remember to whom you belong. Remember His command in Ephesians 4:32. Once you let kindness become a habit, it’ll be hard to break 🙂
It’s time to strive after Jesus’ example. To live sweet, gracious lives…unconditionally.
Will you let kindness be your lifestyle?