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Posts Tagged ‘kindness’

img_2306Had a whole blog written about staycations. Got about three paragraphs in and realized it was so mundane and boring, that I wouldn’t even read it. Deleted the whole thing.

Instead, just a quick reminder:

Be kind.

Today Don and I spent a lot of time with sales clerks, waitresses and cashiers, fellow drivers on the interstate and hospital workers. Now that I’m home, quietly snuggled up on my couch, I’ve been thinking about those small connections and praying I reflected Christ in a way that brings Him glory.

Did I show appreciation for the service I was given? Did I tip generously? Did I smile and make eye contact with those I was speaking with? Did I listen well and respond appropriately? Did I show respect and compassion, even if given less than stellar service? Was I honest in all my dealings?

It doesn’t take much extra effort…and kindness speaks so well to people everywhere. The apostle Paul says, “Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself.”  (Philippians 2:3)

What a great way to give testimony of Jesus to the world around us.

“And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.” (Ephesians 4:32)

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It random-act-of-kindnesswas a saying my mom used to tell me when I complained in junior high about people being mean to me. Looking back, I cannot remember anyone’s actual actions or words toward me that I would consider mean…but I certainly do remember my mom’s advice, “Just be nice to them, Kris. Kill them with kindness.”

Most of the time, I think I’m a kind person, but I also realize that plenty of times I’ve chosen what felt good to me over what may have been kindness extended toward someone else. The times I could have allowed someone in front of me at the WalMart check out lane, held a door open during a walk instead of hurrying on myself, or getting Don a cup of coffee while I was up getting my own…I could go on. So could you.

Today I’m grateful for kindness. I’m also grateful for the POWER of kindness, because I believe if we, all of us, make the intentional choice to be kind to others, we’ll help inch our society in the opposite direction of where it is currently heading.

“Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.” Ephesians 4:32 (NLT)

Here’s my intentional kindness action plan for this week:

Day 1 – Baby steps: smile at everyone I meet, even if they are grouchy or frowning. This includes while I’m driving (my biggest challenge) and when I answer the phone. I don’t know about you, but I can tell when the person on the other end of the phone says “hello” with a smile. I’m weird that way.

Day 2 – Everything from Day 1 PLUS…within the course of the day, choosing kindness in the little things. This could include holding doors, making coffee, running errands, doing a favor, extending grace, being generous, laughing at dumb jokes.

Day 3 – Day 1 + Day 2 + taking note of my body language and tone of voice so I exude kindness with more than just words. Walking the walk, not just talking the talk, as they say.

“Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud.” 1 Corinthians 13:4

Day 4 – Everything from the past three days PLUS adding in kindness to those who don’t like me.

NOOOO!

This one is the hardest, of course. Who likes doing nice things, being nice, showing kindness to people who do not deserve it? Not me.

But…

That’s what God has asked us to do…and in fact, it is what He did (and keeps doing) for us. We don’t deserve God’s love…we never deserved Jesus’ sacrifice for us, but He did it anyway. Because He loves us more than we can imagine. And if we really want to show the world a better way…the BEST way…we must demonstrate God’s love through our actions. Kill them with kindness.

“Our Scriptures tell us that if you see your enemy hungry, go buy that person lunch, or if he’s thirsty, get him a drink. Your generosity will surprise him with goodness. Don’t let evil get the best of you; get the best of evil by doing good.” Romans 12:20-21 (The Message)

I once heard a message from a guest speaker about kindness. A person sitting near to me scoffed about it afterwards – “What a stupid topic for a sermon!” I guess they thought it wasn’t spiritual enough. But in actuality, showing kindness is one of the most spiritual disciplines you can aspire to reach. By showing kindness, you are showing an unbelieving world the unconditional love of our Father God. We are proving His love for them, and using us as instruments of that love. What is more spiritual than being a tool in the hands of the Master?

“We prove ourselves by our purity, our understanding, our patience, our kindness, by the Holy Spirit within us,[a] and by our sincere love.” 2 Corinthians 6:6

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attributes_of_godMy “30 Days of Gratitude” list has me contemplating the attributes of the God today. Imagine having to pick one attribute that I’m most thankful for. That’s like picking my favorite candy bar or my favorite child. Impossible. God is omniscient, omnipotent, immutable, holy, sovereign, infinite, transcendent, self-sufficient, wise, faithful…and so much more. For the sake of needing to blog today, I’ll pick one attribute of God that touches my heart the most…the mercy of God.

“He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” Micah 6:8

“The LORD, the LORD God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abounding in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression, and sin…” Exodus 34:6-7a

Have you ever watched your children misbehave and you knew you should discipline them so they won’t disobey again, but instead of giving them what they deserve, you hug them, snuggle them, and tell them how much you love them. That is mercy. Showing kindness and compassion, instead of judgment.

“For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more.” Hebrews 8:12

“Oh, give thanks to the LORD, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever.” 1 Chronicles 16:34

God continually shows mercy to those who love Him. He also shows mercy to those who don’t know Him at all. As our world continues to taunt Him, to reject His Son, to flaunt sin and lawlessness, God shows mercy…over and over and over.

“But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions – it is by grace you have been saved.” Romans 2:4-5

I am so thankful for God’s mercy to me. He did not give me what I deserve but instead shows me His love and grace and mercy…day after day. I am so grateful.

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Double-EdgedSword

We all have it. Some more than others but, unless you live alone in a cave without any human interaction, you have influence with someone. How you use it can define your legacy.

First, a few questions…

  • Do you show kindness to the harried grocery clerk?
  • Do you drive as though you own the road?
  • Do you discipline your children with respect or anger?
  • Do you roll your eyes when asked the same question multiple times?
  • Do you belittle someone and say “I’m just joking?”
  • Do you give a little extra tip to the hard-working restaurant worker?
  • Have you ever paid for a stranger’s meal or coffee?

The influence you wield can encourage, exhort and enlighten. It can empower others to action…brighten the lives of the less-fortunate…embolden the spirits of the downtrodden. Your influence – my influence – is a powerful weapon for good, but unfortunately, it can also be used for evil purposes.

  • If you can encourage, then you can demean.
  • If you can empower, then you can reject.
  • If you can build up, then you can tear down.
  • If you can enrich, you can also impoverish,
  • If you can assist someone, you can destroy someone.

We can influence others with our speech or our actions. Usually our intentions are obvious in our body language or tone of voice. How you say something usually supersedes what you actually said. Emojis can offer intent but don’t replace the real deal…

So, be careful where you point that thing called influence. Like a light saber in the hands of a Jedi master, hone your positive influence skills. Be patient with others, give grace whenever possible, show love and mercy, demonstrate forgiveness, allow the fruit of the Spirit to hang low on your influence tree. Be salty and shine bright.

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It’s been a crazy hectic day. Items from my “to-do” list have been jumping off the page since I woke up this morning. I skipped my workout (probably not my best decision but I was sooo tired) and snuggled under my electric blanket for an extra hour. Then my wonderful husband made me a hot breakfast…and not warm milk on my cornflakes…a really hot breakfast of scrambled eggs filled with great veggies. He’s a keeper.

But the minute I hit the office doors, it’s been nuts. And as much as I try to multi-task to get more accomplished…less seems to be getting done. So on my 3-mile walk over lunch I came to a conclusion.

I need to be totally present in the moment.

Just today I’ve heard about a co-worker’s husband who has Stage 4 cancer, another co-worker dealing with aging relatives who are sucking every bit of joy out of her life, a long time friend who recently suffered a very debilitating stroke and a friend’s nephew battling through recovery from a heart transplant. Real deal troubles, all of them. They deserve my full attention…so they know they matter to me…so I can pray intelligently. I cannot obey God’s command to “encourage one another” when I’m only listening with a fraction of my attention and staring at my computer screen or smartphone with the rest.

Physically – I need to maintain eye contact with the person speaking to me. I need to show them that what they are telling me is important and worth my time. Mentally – I need to put aside my “gotta get this done right now” list and be all there. Emotionally – I need to empathize and show compassion and kindness.

I know. I know. This doesn’t help me get more off my “to-do” list.  I can’t be everything to everybody. But I can be somebody to someone who needs a shoulder, an ear or a smile. As a believer in Jesus, I’m called to spread His love to those around me. Can’t do it if I’m only partially present…gotta be all there.

be all there

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There are just some expectations worth holding on to. Like me, you probably have some expectations which are necessary for an orderly existence. We have expectations that people will follow the law, work for their wages, and treat others with decency. But I’m often disappointed by people who think of themselves first and end up putting others at risk. We’ve all been passed on the interstate by someone going way too fast for conditions, or had someone rudely butt into a line, or watched co-workers repeatedly show up late and leave early from their workplace. Usually this means additional rules made to punish all of us, due to the selfish actions of a few.

We need look no further than the current presidential campaign to see that our assumption of decent public speech and behavior is long gone; replaced with mud-slinging, tirades, and cursing. Candidates call each other horrible names that I wouldn’t allow on a playground, let alone in a public debate. But bullies will be bullies, no matter the venue.

releasing expectations

Every so often I make  the conscious and intentional decision to release my expectations of others. The actual definition of the word “expectation” is the act of looking forward or anticipating something. I have expectations of future happiness and prosperity, expectations of great health and long life. I have expectations that others will play by the rules, treating each other with kindness and concern, being generous in thought, word and deed. But sometimes, I have expectations of others that are often unrealistic so by letting go of them, I free that person to be who they are designed to be. My expectations can sometimes cause them to act in certain ways just to please me, instead of how they would naturally respond.  The act of letting go of my expectations can really be very freeing…emotionally, mentally, spiritually and even sometimes, physically.

 

So today, I release you from any expectation of certain attitudes and behavior and allow the Holy Spirit to be your teacher and guide.  My job is to love you and model what I believe. No more holding you emotionally hostage because you didn’t “measure up” to what I expect. My standards of decency and moral code come from the Word of God – and I hope yours do as well – but you’ll need to determine the appropriateness of your own actions…No more being the Holy Spirit in someone else’s life.

 

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There are days…

When I’d just like to stay under the covers.

When I’d like to eat blueberry waffles with pure maple syrup and whipped cream until I burst.

When I’d like to leave all the dishes in the sink, the dirty laundry in the basket, the refrigerator empty, and watch TV all day.

When I’d like to crank the music and sing off-key at the top of my lungs.

When I’d like to tell people on Facebook exactly what I’m thinking, no matter who it may offend.

When I’d like to go for a walk at lunch, and just keep walking.

When I’d like to speed down the interstate or better yet, cruise under the speed limit in the left lane.

When I’d like to skip out on all my responsibilities and do something stupid.

But instead…

I’ll be responsible (most of the time)…

Act my age (sometimes)…

Keep my mouth shut (when appropriate)…

Choose right over wrong,

kindness and compassion over meanness,

the Spirit of God over the lust of the flesh.

Because I’ve made the big decision to live according the Spirit, not according to my flesh. It’s okay to recognize those days of indulgence for what they are. A temptation to live for myself. So, even though today may be one of “those days,” I’m asking God for the strength to choose the better way.

And for those of you who like to have fun, and laugh, and sing, and dance…you have definitely chosen the better way. I’m with you.

I will sing out loud and probably have waffles til I explode.

galatians 5 16

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