Being kind is easy. After all, it’s no problem to say friendly words to a stranger, to offer someone a smile, and even to put others’ needs before my own. These are times when being a kind person costs me nothing. In fact, it makes me feel pretty good when I’m nice to others as I find that I’m usually blessed with a smile or friendly word in return.
No one knows what goes on inside my heart though, that place where my hidden motives reside. God and I alone know how I struggle to show kindness to those who aren’t easy for me to understand, to allow mercy to join the kindness I know I should give away to those who present the most challenges to me.
The Bible instructs me to be a kind person, but as I read, I learn that there’s a bit more to it than just saying a nice word, smiling at a stranger, or holding the door for someone.
“Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving each other, as God in Christ forgave you.” 1 Peter 3:8 ESV
If I replace the final word with “me” I feel the power of what God is instructing me to do, and I find myself admitting that this isn’t something I can do on my own. Thankfully, He’s never left me alone with this list of seemingly impossible attributes for me, a mere human. I’m so glad God is kind, loving, and merciful. He continuously shows me by loving example how I should behave, giving me His Word to instruct me while making Himself available to me through prayer and worship.
One thing I’m certain of is that God will never ask anything from me that’s impossible, and that includes everything He’s instructed me to do in 1 Peter 3:8, even the part about having a tender heart.
Being kind to someone requires a truly tender heart, but I have a heart that tends to harden up whenever someone is less than kind to me. God’s given me a cure for that too. I am reminded of God’s promise to me when He said:
“And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.” Ezekiel 36:26 ESV
He doesn’t expect me to have a tender heart all by myself. No, He will take care of it for me if only I’ll admit I need His help.
God reminds me why I can do this. He reminds me of who I once was. He reminds me how He forgave me, how Christ died for me, how I really cannot expect to be allowed to offer anything less to others than the forgiveness I received at salvation and continue to receive every day.
I’m overwhelmed when I think about how kind the Lord is to me even though I’ve often utterly failed Him. I can’t help but stand in awe at how He never once has refused to be there for me, even when I come crawling back to Him wearing a heavy cloak of shame, one He so gently removes from me as He reminds me of His love toward me.
How can I give away anything less to others when I’ve been treated with such unbelievable mercy and kindness?
I think about the times I struggle to control my thoughts, letting them make their way out of my heart through my mouth where they tend to land on someone else. These are times when I’m reacting to my feelings, reacting to a situation. Most of the time no one would blame me for how I’m feeling, telling me I’m justified based on what the other person said or did. But that’s not how life works for me as a Christian because I’m not supposed to listen to anyone except the One who saved me.
I admit being kind is a thousand times easier for me than forgiveness is. Showing mercy just doesn’t always come naturally to me because I seem to be constantly distracted by my hurt feelings, but I’m also reminded to be eternally grateful that God did more for me than just show me kindness. I’m saved from my sins because He forgave me.
Who am I to offer less than what God offers?
I’m a child of God, a child of the One who set the perfect example for me when He made it possible for me to be born again.
God is my example. His act of salvation is the ultimate example of the type of pure motivation that is needed for me to show mercy and kindness to others.
I can’t help but notice the word “whoever” in John 3:16. Jesus died for everyone, not just for those to whom it’s easy to show mercy.
May I follow His example, letting mercy flow out of me and onto others as easily as kindness does. Perhaps this will be used to lead a lost soul home to the Father whose love never wavers.
Sandy Brannan, author of Becoming Invisible, So Much Stays Hidden, Masquerade, and Frozen in Time, teaches middle and high school English. A regular contributing writer for Calla Press, she also writes for The Real Deal of Parenting and Her View From Home. Sandy’s idea of a perfect day is one spent creating memories with her grandchildren. This usually includes coloring and reading a lot of books. You can read more of her work on her blog at sandybrannan.com. Sandy is also active on social media at facebook.com/sandybrannanauthor and instagram.com/sandybrannanauthor. You can follow her on Amazon at amazon.com/author/sandybrannan.
We thank you, Sandy, for your contribution to this publication of Titus-two.com and sharing your wisdom, insight and love for women through the gift of words of encouragement.
You are loved to Heaven and Back, Sandy ~~
LindaRJohnson, TitusTwo Visionary