In my previous post, I mentioned wanting to avoid the first *description of love (Love is Patient). However, I’m discovering that patience is necessary to live out the other qualities of love. When I lack patience, I’m unkind, and that is a painful reality.
I’m still working on the patience, but being kind was drilled into me by my mother. Whenever my siblings and I would argue she would quote Ephesians 4:32, “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” (NIV) I’m sorry to say that I’ve not always followed my mother’s admonition. I was sometimes unkind to other children. I wasn’t always kind to co-workers. I’ve even been unkind to my husband and children, and I truly do love them.
Overall, however, I believe people with whom I interact regularly would say that I am a kind person. I simply find no reason, in general, to be purposefully unkind. I think most would agree that bullying and cutting remarks are extremely hurtful and completely unnecessary, but that’s the low hanging fruit, so to speak.
Our everyday actions and responses to stressful situations can sometimes cause us to choose to be unkind. Someone irritates me, so the logical reaction would be to irritate them in return; and eye for an eye. I have the ability to choose what seems to be counterintuitive. Someone irritates me, and I choose to take a deep breath, smile and move on.
In addition to reacting with kindness, I can be intentional with my kindness. I’m thinking about a friend, so I send them a note/email/text telling them how much I enjoy having them in my life. My husband loves chicken enchiladas, so I put forth a little more effort and make them for dinner. I know my son and daughter-in-law are tired when they come home from work, so I do the dishes, and pick up the toys when I babysit.
I’ve heard it said that kindness means to withhold what harms, as well as give what heals. I like that! Wouldn’t the world be better with less harm and more healing?
(Next: Love does not envy)
*“Love is patient. Love is kind. It does not want what belongs to others. It does not brag. It is not proud. It is not rude. It does not look out for its own interests. It does not easily become angry. It does not keep track of other people’s wrongs. Love is not happy with evil. But it is full of joy when the truth is spoken. It always protects. It always trusts. It always hopes. It never gives up.” (New International Reader’s Version-NIRV)