A Little Kindness Goes a Long Way

I am thankful my parents taught me that a little kindness goes a long way. That was a long time ago when life seemed simpler. But their advice continues to serve me well these many years later.

Recently, my husband and I witnessed the impact of even the smallest demonstration of this attribute. As owners of a rental house, we were privileged to have a wonderful family from India rent our home. When they became more established, they later purchased that home. We continued to maintain a relationship with this lovely immigrant family. We supported and encouraged each other in the things that mattered the most to us.

Prior to opening their second business, they invited us to celebrate this new enterprise along with their family and friends. We were surprised to be the only non-immigrant people present. They genuinely welcomed us into their midst with open arms. We were humbled by such undeserved kindness and generosity.

What extra kind-heartedness had we shown? None, that we could remember. Yet, somehow we had made a impact on their lives. We were astounded!

Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude.”
1 Corinthians 13:4

Kindness of God

Yes, a little kindness goes a long way. But God’s great kindness transformed us from foreigners to His chosen sons and daughters. Our best efforts demonstrate a miniscule portion of His immense kindness. Something He offers to us all!

Do the riches of his extraordinary kindness make you take him for granted and despise him? Haven’t you experienced how kind and understanding he has been to you? Don’t mistake his tolerance for acceptance. Do you realize that all the wealth of his extravagant kindness is meant to melt your heart and lead you into repentance?”
Romans 2:4 TPT

Whether we realize it or not, every kind act reflects God’s extravagant kindness — a kind-heartedness this world desperately needs. Too many people believe God to be cruel and distant. Nothing could be further from the truth.

“… with everlasting kindness I will have compassion on you,” says the LORD your Redeemer.”
Isaiah 54:8

Fruit of the Spirit

God desires that we water the seed of kind-heartedness which He has planted in us so it may produce an increased abundance.

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.”
Galatians 5:22-23

Every word of Scripture is significant. The word order also holds purpose. Here, kindness occupies the central position of all the fruit of Holy Spirit in us. Four attributes precede and four attributes follow. It is central to all other fruit.

Kindness to All

Sometimes, kindness comes with a cost. God calls us to show kind-heartedness to everyone — even our enemies. He calls us to more than an outward display, but rather to an inner attitude of generosity that comes only from the pure kindness God has shown to us.

Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.”
Ephesians 4:32

Perhaps such basic courtesy shines the brightest in the darkest places and at the most difficult times. I only need to be reminded of the desperate condition God pulled me from to understand what incredible kindness He offers. Perhaps the most unworthy of candidates, I too once lived as an enemy of all He represented.

Is there anyone to whom we find it difficult to show kindness? Does anything compare with how far God reached for us? Hardly! But kind-heartedness doesn’t always come easily. However, even a little kind-heartedness contains the potential to grow, impacting many people in our spheres of influence.

But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, for he is kind to the ungrateful and the evil.”
Luke 6:35

A Little Kindness

Everything we choose to excel in takes practice — lots of practice. Today, let’s look for opportunities to practice a little kindness. Who knows what God might do with it!

Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.”
Colossians 3:12-13

Perhaps, you have experienced the abuse of those who withheld even a little kind-heartedness. It is interesting how many verses connect forgiveness with kindness. Perhaps forgiveness stands as the grandest form of kindness — God’s and ours.

May this prayer form a starting point for our forgiveness.

Father, please forgive me, and us, for withholding your kindness from others. We repent for ignoring, judging, or neglecting the people who have needed a simple act of courtesy to encourage them. Whether out of ignorance or pride, forgive me, and us, for failing to give to others what You have so extravagantly given to us. Heal the pain our lack has cause in their lives.
Lord, help us to see everyone through Your generous heart of love and courtesy. May kindness not just be a self-inflating act we do, but may it flow from a sincere love and compassion for our neighbors — near and far. And may the immeasurable riches of Your grace through kindness toward us be revealed in Christ Jesus in our day (Ephesians 2:7). May the kindness and love of God, our Savior, appear through our own little demonstration of kind-heartedness to others (Titus 3:4).
Father may Your kind-heartedness spread like wild-fire throughout our land, impacting many more lives.
Amen.

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Why Did I Just Do That? The Things We Say And Do

Refocus! The Fruit of the Spirit

Do you ever find yourself scratching your head wondering about the things you say and do? I just had one of these moments! Here I sit with an Alice & Victor cool pack resting on the shoulder I pulled during an ungraceful entrance into my own home — through the basement window.

As I read firsthand accounts of others I know they questioned their decisions:

In case you think it was only the male leaders who were rash in speech or action, I’ll spare us the feminine examples Eve, Martha, the mother of James and John, and others.

We’ve all been there at one time or another:

speaking when silence would have been golden
moving at a time when peace and rest were the power centers of advancement
allowing emotions to rule reason
hidden internal agendas and motives bubbling into full view.

The Things We Say and Do

Things We Say And Do

Words are like toothpaste” is an object lesson that powerfully illustrates the importance of the things we say and do.

“Those who guard their mouths
and their tongues keep themselves from calamity.”

Proverbs 21:23

In most cases if I would slow down, say a little prayer and move thoughtfully, “calamity” could be avoided.  Proverbs 31 speaks about women, but it applies to all.

She speaks with wisdom,
and faithful instruction is on her tongue.”

Proverbs 31:26 

But of course, it isn’t just our words that can get us into precarious situations; actions speak too!

“Who is wise and understanding among you?
Let them show it by their good life,

by deeds done in the humility
that comes from wisdom.”

James 3:13

Fruit of the Spirit

I enjoy growing fruit: raspberries and strawberries, cherries and plums, apples and grapes, apricots and pears – all in a Canadian prairie garden! That may not seem like much to those in warmer territories, but in northern regions these plants need to withstand the brunt of harsh and lengthy winters.

The bible and life have taught me that a good tree will always bear good fruit. Always!

Fruit of the Spirit

I know we tend to think of the fruit of the Spirit as elementary, but it remains a constant work in progress for me. (Slow learner?) Just when one branch of my life is producing in abundance, another withers.

I find the hardest place to position this beautiful and life-giving “fruit” is toward myself especially in “what did I just say and do” moments.

But the fruit of the Spirit is
love, joy, peace,
forbearance, kindness, goodness,
faithfulness,
gentleness and self-control.
Against such things there is no law.
Galatians 5:22-23

In our “Ugh!” moments, can we show ourselves the same grace we demonstrate to others?

patient in our weaknesses,
loving in our self-thoughts,
gentle and kind in failure,
displaying the love of Christ
when we feel replaceable, unloved,
rejected, forsaken, or alone…

The fruit of the spirit is the kingdom on heaven, through Christ, being expressed toward others and myself!

Why Did I Say and Do That?

It all begins in our thinking! Graham Cooke is a gem at inspiring many to redirect the negative to positive!

“Every day, we wake up with a mindset that
works for us or against us
It produces a way forward
and it allows us to enjoy the circumstances
and the discovery that we are going to make.
It allows a strength to emerge and be developed.”

Did you catch that little word – “produce”? That is fruit talk!

“A mind set on the Spirit is life and peace.”
Romans 8:6

The good news is, we have the mind of Christ already! It has been given to us with salvation! Now we just need to adjust it, focusing it fully on the Spirit!

Refocus

So on those days when I say or do something out of focus with who Christ in me is, I can think creatively and positively to turn things around. This little pulled muscle reminds me of lessons learned!

  • I’m too old to elegantly climb through windows!
  • I can listen and focus on what the Spirit is doing and saying.
  • I have opportunity to adjust my personal lens zooming into the same perspective.

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Top 4 Hindrances to Authentic Relationships

Building Relationships

Building healthy relationships is one of the short suits of my life. I have become stronger over the years, but I am still learning from my mistakes. Here are my top 4 hindrances to authentic relationships. I assure you my personal list could be longer!!!

“I’m Fine”

“How are you?” Pushing ourselves to trust and answer honestly may be scary, but truth is the only soil in which healthy relationships can truly grow. To strengthen friendship and community requires risk, a risk others may be unsure to take but worth giving a try ourselves.

The LORD detests lying lips,
but he delights in people who are trustworthy ..
.”

(Proverbs 12:22)

I'm Fine

Being real with one another is worth peaking beyond our shells of self-protection. An authentic response may be the first step down the road of a life-long friendship. If things are going well, this is an opportunity to rejoice together; if you are ‘turtling’ your way through a tough season, genuine support and care may be directly in front on you.

“Calm Down”

Emotionally charged environments give tangible opportunity for honesty. Emotionally transparency is key within genuinely strong communities. We need to be able to listen attentively to the hearts of those around us without trying to filter everything around our own comfort zones, laying aside critical judgments and condescending attitudes.

Communication

Studies show that women, more than men, are “wired to quickly and accurately decode or detect distress.” This alone can cause problems with relating authentically in cross-gender circles. Just as the perception of one may create precipices of risk, the lack of accurate perception may allow for bulldozing attitudes in the other! Neither is intentional! Both must be overcome! Dictating when and how every conversation will flow results in emotional distancing. Tempering without hiding keeps us from damaging and distancing those around us.

We watch Jesus fully engaged emotionally: angry, sad, joyful, or moved with compassion. His complete honesty was an open door to enjoyed just “hanging out” with Him. He was real, but he was tempered.

Dear children, let us not love with words or speech
but with actions and in truth ..
.”
 (I John 3:18)

“If you would just [fill in the blank] then I would…”

Without question, it’s give-and-take in developing rock solid community. How do we treat others when they are not “carrying their load”?

Putting Others First

“The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace,
forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,
gentleness and self-control…”
Galatians 5:22-23

There are several elements within the fruit of the spirit, that only exist in the context of going the extra mile in developing community; elements that require us to be initiators in developing a loving relationship, rather that reactors when the going gets tough.

“We who are strong ought to bear with the failings of the weak
and not to please ourselves.
Each of us should please our neighbors for their good,
to build them up.

Romans 15:1-2

“I’ll do it Myself!”

Bossy

“Miss Bossy” may look cute in a picture but not in real life! Years of being a cattle producer gave daily examples of why these “four-leggeds” are often called bossy…

the first to the trough; the last to leave
maintain position at all cost
take the lead or lose it
challenge me and see what happens
muscle power!

The “I’ll do it myself” thoughts are blatant reminders of those days! Haughty superiority and need for control decapitates future opportunities to develop the team relationships needed in healthy community.

“For by the grace given me I say to every one of you:
Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought,
but rather think of yourself with sober judgment,
in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you.”

Romans 12:3

 Relationships Within Community

Community comes in many forms: a family, a leadership team, a small group or your workplace, just to name a few!

Ants go Marching

I am reminded of a walk with my children years ago. We came across an ant super-highway. It amazed us the strategy, precision and efficiency of this community of workers. Each stuck to the right side of the pathway as traffic was streaming different directions. Many struggled in the process of carrying loads disproportionately larger than they; other workers came and assisted in their struggle. For some time, we crouched low, watching in amazement. Whether the worker was large or small, each shared the same mission.

Go to the ant, you sluggard; consider its ways and be wise!
Proverbs 6:6

Only yesterday, a comment from one of my sons, reminded me how far I have to go in developing godly, authentic and loving community. Unfortunately, I am very much still a “work-in-progress” in this area!

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Meg Gemelli  was inspiration behind this blog. Thank you!)

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