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The Fruit of the Spirit this week is Kindness. I’ve chosen an apple to represent kindness because students often give teachers an apple as a way of saying thank you, or at least they use to. When a student gives a teacher an apple, it’s an act of kindness.
Kindness is a state of being. It’s when you choose to be friendly, generous or considerate of others. I think kindness is contagious. When we act this way toward others, it inspires them to respond kindly to those they encounter, which causes a ripple affect.
You are acting with kindness when you behave in a gentle, caring and helpful way toward others. When you make an effort to help clean up a mess, even when you didn’t take part in making it. Kindness is shown when we check in on someone that we know is going through a difficult time. Who in your life is God calling you to check in on?
Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. Ephesians 4:29
Kindness is not causing disruption or preventing something from happening, as it should. I have a hard time with this one. I tend to argue with God and His plan and timing of things. I get excited, then impatient, and try to make things happen in my way when I think it should happen.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. Proverbs 3:5-6
We are not being an example of kindness when we behave in a mean, harsh or cruel manner, showing ill will or hostility toward someone or something. This means that when you don’t get what you wanted (when eating out or going to a movie) having a bad attitude is not an acceptable behavior. It’s seen as being rude and unappreciative. I know I’m guilty of being one of the first to point out when someone else has a bad attitude but am usually blind to my own bad behavior.
Finally, all of you, be like-minded, be sympathetic, love one another, be compassionate and humble. Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult. On the contrary, repay evil with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing. 1 Peter 3:8-9
As it says in 1 Peter, we are to be a blessing, show kindness, even when kindness is not being shown to you. Who in your life can use a dose of kindness?
My prayer to us today ~ Father God, You lavish us with your kindness daily, even when we do not deserve it. I pray the Holy Spirit would open our eyes and heart to see how we may lavish others with kindness, Amen.
Have you ever left a Sunday service, a lecture or time with a friend felling uplifted and encouraged by the words spoken? I definitely have, many times. Sunday, Monday, Tuesday and Thursday mornings are my favorite (aside from the daily time I get to spend with my crazy but loving family). Sunday I get to worship God with my church family and hear about God’s word. Monday’s (unfortunately not every Monday) I get to hang out with Mops/Momsnext moms and enjoy coffee, food and fun. Tuesday and Thursday mornings I have the privilege of studying Gods Word with wonderful women from all around. Whenever I get a chance in between, I’m blessed to have coffee, lunch or ice cream with one of the wonderfully fabulous women God has placed in my life. So, I think it’s safe to say; I’m continually uplifted and encouraged. This post isn’t about the days I’m surrounded by love and encouragement. It’s about the hours or days I’m alone in my head. I use to be alone in my head a lot! What I mean by ‘alone in my head’ is when I continually try to figure a situation out, repeat a situation over and over again because it didn’t go the way I thought it should, or run all the different ways a situation will play out, and not in a good way. ‘Alone in my head’ is when I think someone thinks something negative about me because of something I said or did.
Alone in my head = Keeping thoughts and/or feelings to myself because of worry and/or fear
Come to me, all who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon me and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light. ~ Matthew 11:28-30
A few years back I heard Lysa TerKeurst speak about her book Unglued. The message I walked away with that day was, in the moment you feel you’re about to explode from your current circumstances you should take a second and call upon Jesus by saying His name in your head. This could change your focus on Him as well as invite Him into the situation. She suggested doing that could completely change the out come. Back then, when I often felt like I was about to explode and wanted to run, but couldn’t, was from the tape running in my head.
I decided to try Lysa’s suggestion and call upon Jesus. First, I simply focused on Him, not knowing what to say or how to stop the tape in my head. Soon after, I would be doing something else, having completely forgotten about the negative thoughts I was freaking out about. Later, I began to find the words to express to others how I was feeling or what I thought about something. I have to admit, it was scary at first, telling others about my feelings or what I thought. Especially when it wasn’t what everyone else thought. I was afraid I would be rejected or replaced if I didn’t like or do what everyone else wanted.
I used to avoid conflict like the plague. Now I face it head on, trusting God put me there and will get me through it. Jesus does indeed make my burden’s easy and light. My heart aches for those who keep their thoughts and feelings in their head. They don’t belong alone in our heads. They’re meant to be shared with others so they’ll know how to encourage and help us.
Recently, I’ve heard arguments start because of hurt feelings that weren’t expressed but kept in their heads. Then the hurt feelings grew and bitterness crept in. Not to far behind came anger. I’ve also heard of people assuming others didn’t like them because someone reacted differently than what was expected. This usually brings on feelings of rejection. I sometimes struggle with seeing friends post about going out with others. I get sad because I wasn’t invited. Then I realize I don’t invite everyone I know every time I get together with friends. We would never get any work done if we were always inviting everyone to everything!
Anxiety weighs down the heart, but a kind word cheers it up. ~ Proverbs 12:25
I know it’s difficult to talk about our feelings, especially when we’re talking about what makes us sad, angry, scared or hurt, but it’s important to share what’s going on in our head with the people in our lives. When we share, I think it’s important we do it respectfully with love and grace. Call upon Jesus and He will help you get the words out of your head and speak!
Do not let unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. ~ Ephesians 4:29
My prayer for us today ~ Father God, thank you for the encouragement you give through the people in our lives. Lord, I pray you help us speak truth to one another in a loving respectful way that is pleasing to You, Amen.