Do you ever have moments in your life that you wish you could redo? I know I do. I wish I could go back and tell my twenty something self a thing or two. I know one simple thing I would tell myself would be to show more kindness.
My personality has always been one of no nonsense, rule follower. Let’s just say, on any spiritual gifts inventory I ever took the spiritual gift of mercy was way down at the bottom of the list. 🙂
What that doesn’t do, is give me an excuse to not show mercy or kindness to others. Many times, I think we find ourselves excusing our actions on our personality or giftedness. The ones who take the brunt of our lack of control in these areas tend to be those closest to us, our family.
The fruit of the Spirit in not meant to be lived out just on friends and acquaintances, but also on those closest to us.
Several years ago, to help my children and me really get some handles on exhibiting kindness, I wrote these two words on index cards: kind and necessary and posted them around the house. Our goal was to only respond to each other in a kind way and not say anything unnecessary. This meant no ugly responses to each other or unkind words. Let me say when you stop and apply just these two little words to your home and life it will really make a difference. You will begin to realize just how much of the opposite goes on around the house, at least that’s the lesson we learned.
During this time we also decided to stay away from sarcasm, because, let’s be real, most of the time sarcasm is what you really want to say wrapped up in a different package that you try to pull off as joking. It fell under the unnecessary category. I see many Christian youth today that seem to be striving to get the most sarcastic award. It seems that almost everything they say is said in sarcasm. I haven’t read in Scripture that sarcasm is one of the fruits of the spirit for which to strive. Instead, we should put on kindness and teach our children the same, leading by example.
Let us put on the habit of exhibiting kindness to everyone especially those closest to us.
Col. 3:12 therefore, as God’s chosn people, holy and dearly loved; clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.
Gal. 5:22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,
Proverbs 19:22 – What is desirable in a person is kindness, and it is better to be poor than a liar.
Luke 6:27-31 – Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. If someone strikes you on one cheek, turn to him the other also. If someone takes your cloak, do not stop him from taking your tunic. Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. Do to others as you would have them do to you.
Luke 6:36-38 – Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful. And do not judge and you will not be judged; and do not condemn, and you will not be condemned; pardon, and you will be pardoned. Give and it will be given to you; good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, they will pour into your lap. For by your standard of measure it will be measured to you in return.
I Corinthians 13:4-8a, 13 – Love is patient, love is kind, and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails. Now abide faith, hope and love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.
Galatians 6:9a – Let us not lose heart in doing good.
Hebrews 13:1-2 – Let love of the brethren continue. Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by this some have entertained angels without knowing it.
Going to get out my index cards! What an important habit to focus on. One that often is just accepted behavior. Like my mama said, “if you can’t say something nice don’t say anything at all.” Say only things that edify one another.
Thanks. This is timely for us!
Bam!!! This was for me!! I’m pulling out index cards right after I write this. Tricia, my mom always said that and I find myself saying it a lot these days =) Thank you Kim! Very good word!! Thanks for all the scripture too!!
Some of the time it was not what we were saying it’s just the tone in which we said it. Other times it was just plain old mean and unnecessary. The tone is especially for me, I am so matter of fact that a little kindness in my comments can totally change what I am asking or saying. 🙂
I also posted the words over the front door and back door. Sometimes it they used unkind or unnecessary words or tones I would send them out the door and ask them to come back in trying to say something in a better way or replace the unkind thing with a kind word.
But, I found if I didn’t watch it we would be going out and in the door all day. 🙂
This is so relevant. I have a sarcastic mouth. I don’t like it when I hear it come out, but I especially don’t like it when I hear it repeated back to me by the little mouths around me. It is something I am continually working on. Thanks for sharing.
Definitely a work in progress here, too. I was raised around a lot of sarcasm – not my mom, but extended family – and it was almost the love language, if you will, to express affection without having to step out of a comfort zone. So I almost didn’t realize what I was doing until I heard it from my kids’ mouths and it didn’t sound so affectionate then!
I like the ‘kind and necessary’ prompts and have already started using them 🙂
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