A study on what I want my life to be filled with

Month: June 2020

See the Need

I have been thinking this week about examples of kindness that I have seen in the bible. I know there are plenty but for some reason it has been hard for me to think of one. But when I finally sat down to write and thought more about it, the story of the Good Samaritan came to mind. I think this is an amazing example of kindness and love and a story that challenged the social norms of the day.

If you don’t know the story you can find the whole thing in Luke 10:25-37. An expert in the law asked Jesus what he had to do to inherit eternal life. Jesus asked him what was written in the law and how he interpreted it. The expert said it was about loving God and loving your neighbor, basically. He was correct! But to justify himself he asked Jesus who his neighbor was. And boy did Jesus answer – not how the man was hoping, but in the way Jesus knew was best for challenging his idea of a neighbor and the prejudice of the day. He proceeded to tell him this parable.

A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he fell into the hands of robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side.  So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, brought him to an inn and took care of him. The next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’ Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into he hands of robbers?

Luke 10:30-36

This man who had been beaten and left for dead was passed over by all the obvious “good” people in society. But then a Samaritan, who was despised by the Jews, came by and he had compassion and was kind to the man. I think this is a challenge for all of us to see those who need help and share some kindness with them. We need to look past social norms and expected behaviors and be the hands and feet of Jesus. This reminds me of another passage.

Do to others as you would have them do to you. If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners love those who love them.

Luke 6:31-32

We can not just be kind to those who society already loves and is kind to, it is the ones that no one loves and society casts aside that need this sort of kindness. If you were the one beaten and left for dead wouldn’t you want someone to help you? Be the one who helps those who really need it.

(Photo by Nina Strehl on Unsplash)

A Kind Word

Have you ever had one of those days where you wake up on the wrong side of the bed and it does not seem to get any better from there? I am guessing we have all had those days. But on the other hand, I am also guessing we have all had those days that were turned around by a simple statement or word of encouragement. Someone on the bus tells you they like your coat, or a co-worker admires your efforts on a project, or your spouse tells you this is the best dinner you have cooked in a long time! Whatever it may be, words have such great power, and a kind word has the power to turn your or someone else’s day around. There is a verse in Proverbs that speaks to this.

Anxiety weighs down the heart, but a kind word cheers it up.

Proverbs 12:25, NIV

Anxiety and stress seem to be plaguing many of our lives lately. I know I have been dealing with more than my fair share. It really does put a heavy weight on our hearts when we let anxiety dictate our lives. I think of it like this: Anxiety is like tying a balloon to a rock and throwing it off a cliff. It is going to drop fast because it is weighed down. But, if you take that same balloon and remove the rock it goes up, up, up! Just like your heart when it hears a kind word! It gives you a shot of joy and cheers you up inside and out! That is especially true for me since we have all been so isolated for the past few months. When I hear a kind word, especially from someone I have not seen in a long time, my heart soars!

Let’s be people who give out kind words to those around us, just like balloons!

(Photo by Danilo Batista on Unsplash)

Kindness is Honored

A kindhearted woman gains honor, but ruthless men gain only wealth. Those who are kind benefit themselves, but the cruel bring ruin on themselves.

proverbs 11:16-17, niv

This is a powerfully simple verse.

Kindness brings honor and benefit to those who live with it, and those who do not gain only wealth and bring ruin on themselves. I think this speaks to the eternal perspective we all need to have. Honor isn’t something you can see or measure, but I know it’s something most people hope to gain in their lives. When you are kind to others you gain honor and respect from them. It is interesting that honor and wealth are contrasted here. Many people think that if they climb the corporate ladder and make enough money they will be honored by others. But this verse is saying that true honor comes when you live a life of kindness. This also reminds me of another verse in Matthew.

What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul?

Matthew 16:26, niv

We work to gain the whole world at the expense of losing our soul and the honor we could have gained. If we focus on loving people and being kindhearted, I think we will be amazed at how far we will really rise in this life. Not necessarily in the ways which the world thinks are important, but in the eyes of heaven we will be honored.

Being kind is simple. Smile at a stranger. Buy someone’s coffee in line behind you. Speak some encouraging words to your kids or spouse. Hold your tongue when you could say something mean. Hold the door open for someone. It can be the smallest things that make the biggest impact.

I want to leave you with some inspiring quotes about kindness, here are a few I really like this week.

“Remember there’s no such thing as a small act of kindness. Every act creates a ripple with no logical end.” – Scott Adams

“You can accomplish by kindness what you cannot by force.” – Pubilius Syrus

“Unexpected kindness is the most powerful, least costly, and most underrated agent of human change.” – Bob Kerrey

(Photo by Randalyn Hill on Unsplash)

Kindness

Once again it seems like the theme for the month is truly relevant. Kindness. I think many in our world have forgotten the meaning of the word lately.

Here is a quick reminder of that definition just in case you forgot: of a sympathetic or helpful nature; of a forbearing nature: Gentle; arising from or characterized by sympathy or forbearance.

Kindness is being sympathetic, helpful, gentle, and forbearing or patient. When you truly think about the meaning of kindness and think about how many people you know who are kind, I’m hoping you are able to come up with lots! Some of the kindest people I know are part of the body of Christ, which makes me proud! But with the events of the past week I think we can all use an extra dose of kindness in our lives.

When I think of kindness, I think of Mr. Rogers. He was one of the most kind, caring people of his generation. His heart for people and their well-being is very inspirational and something I strive toward often. Here are some things that he said about kindness:

There are three ways to ultimate success:

The first way is to be kind.

The second way is to be kind.

The third way is to be kind.

Fred Rogers

Imagine what our neighborhoods would be like if each of us offered, as a matter of course, just one kind word to another person.

Fred Rogers

He was so wise, in such a simple way. Kindness is free, but it is worth so much to those who receive it. I pray that this month we can learn to add a bit more kindness to our lives and the lives of those around us.

( Photo by Clay Banks on Unsplash )

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