"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."
I'm in a small group mentoring program for young women called Apples of Gold. Last week's lesson was on kindness. Most people, when they are first meeting or getting to know me, think I'm kind, or at least "nice." I'm a good actress, apparently.
Kindness is not niceness. Kindness is an attitude that looks for ways to serve others, whether that be through words, actions, or the absence thereof.
My biggest area of struggle with the character of kindness is in "venting." "Venting" is a nice little term Christians have coined to make gossip seem acceptable. Now, there is a valid place for me to share my relational struggles and challenges with my husband or a very close friend because I know it's not going anywhere and it helps to release the tension built up inside. But constant "venting" to anyone and everyone who may share my sentiments is called gossip. And that is not kind.
My heart is bitter, and it is not at peace. One of the beautiful mentors in Apples of Gold, Mary, taught on kindness at our meeting last night. She said the root of kindness is being at peace with God, self, and others. Light bulb moment! While I feel I am at peace with God, at least in the sense that I know I am forgiven and the channel of communication is open, most of the time I do not feel at peace with myself and therefore cannot feel at peace with others.
There it is. I have also been able to fool people for an unusually long amount of time that I am a peaceful person. Again, not true. In order to be at peace with myself, I have to be absolutely confident in who I am in Christ and in the personality and unique gifts and purpose He has given me. I also have to forgive myself. I'm one of those people who tends to relive all the stupid and shameful things I've done repeatedly instead of allowing God to remove them once and for all from my record. So all of the times I've blown up in anger or all of the times I've gossiped often play through my mind as I'm approaching a potentially uncomfortable situation with a friend or coworker. No peace there.
Oh, God, give me peace. I want to have that inner calm that allows kindness to take root and flow out through me. Help me to know Your peace and remember the kindness You have shown to me when I encounter conflict or hurt. May Your Spirit's fruit grow deep and blossom exponentially in my soul so that beauty and delight is what others see in me. I want to display kindness, not so others can praise my character, but so they will praise the character of my God. Give me a heart at peace.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Hello! I'm Faith. I'm a verbal processor who wants to love the Lord and love people with all my heart, soul, mind and strength. I write to think and think to write. I don't drink coffee. I am a dogless dog lover. I enjoy hosting large parties in my home, and I enjoy being alone. Join me in looking to Him and pursuing A Radiant Face.