“Kindness is the new cool.”
I saw that on a t-shirt recently. The phrase throw kindness around like confetti is now popping up on signs in stores. What about the phrase random acts of kindness?
The IDEA of kindness, this week’s Fruit of the Spirit, seems to be popular in our culture – but is it really? Sure, we’ve all seen the news stories of restaurant servers receiving unusually large tips. Or the returned ring found. But how often do we see kindness personally in our everyday life? Or do we even notice it?
The thing about kindness is that it is intentional. It’s not possible to be accidentally kind. Paul points to this: “And as for you, brothers and sisters, never tire of doing what is good.” (2 Thessalonians 3:13). In the Bible, we get a sense of the beautiful kindness God has instilled within us: The Lord appeared to us in the past, saying, “I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have DRAWN you with unfailing kindness.” Jeremiah 31:3 (NIV)
This verse shows us that we have been created to be kind. God drew kindness into us that never fails. In other words, there is always enough of what is needed. As Christians, it should be woven into the fabric of our DNA. But God reminds us how important it is to be diligent with kindness:
“Never let loyalty and kindness leave you! Tie them around your neck as a reminder. Write them deep within your heart.” Proverbs 3:3 (NLT).
We need to intentionally TIE kindness around our neck and then WRITE it deep within our heart. Sounds like we must mindfully place it close by and it should stay for a while, doesn’t it?
Thankfully, God has provided us with so many examples of His kindness toward us. Perhaps one of the most beautiful is found in Hosea 11:4: “I led them with cords of human kindness, with ties of love.”
Another is “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16
Am I alone in feeling that the world doesn’t feel very kind right now? Especially now, seemingly everywhere we look, kind seems to be one of the last words that pops into our heads when describing others. Perhaps it’s because people are tired or hurting, or being selfish, or maybe their anger has turned to pain. Regardless, I don’t think we can be effective at kindness toward others, if we aren’t also intentionally kind to ourselves.
God points to the value of self-care and instructs us to love ourselves. In Mark 12:31 – The second is equally important: Love your neighbor as yourself. No other commandment is greater than these.
And in Proverbs 19:8 – “To acquire wisdom is to love oneself; people who cherish understanding will prosper.”
Psalm 23:2 “He makes me lie down in green pastures, He leads me beside quiet waters.”
How many days have you had recently where you’ve gotten caught up in the busyness of everyday life and lying down and sitting beside quiet waters sounds like one of the best days ever?
As women, we typically put ourselves last on the totem pole in the care department. Our children, spouses, friends, family, pets, neighbors, and whomever else can be squeezed in, generally comes first. Until God needs to get our attention by stopping us. Why do we hesitate about slowing down so we can be kind to ourselves? When did self-care become self-ish? Too often we feel it’s not the right thing to do. As if we’re being lazy. But if we don’t eventually care for ourselves, there is no way we can care for others.
God instructs us to love ourselves. The Bible even provides us with examples of Jesus taking care of himself and are scattered throughout.
In Mark 1:35, Jesus gets up early to pray alone: “Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where He prayed.”
He goes off alone. (Luke 6:12) One of those days Jesus went out to a mountainside to pray, and spent the night praying to God.
He slept (Mark 4:38) Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke Him and said to Him, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?”
He wept (John 11:35). Jesus wept (before commanding Lazarus to rise from the dead). Yes, our tears are healing.
Ladies, if Jesus Christ, the Son of God, chose to be kind to Himself, what makes it wrong for us? He knew the value of self-kindness and what big dividends it pays within us.
Self-care allows us to recharge and reconnect to ourselves and others. It provides us a moment to catch our breath, reduce stress and provides us with a new perspective. Basically, taking care of yourself keeps stress at bay so we can function at our highest.
Being kind to yourself provides you with enough energy to be intentionally kind to others.
Ladies, be intentional and schedule that girl’s night. Get a mani-pedi. Take a nap (on a cushion, no less)! Splurge on that Starbucks or shop occasionally. If you’re not being kind to yourself, you can’t be kind to others. There’s no telling what a difference to the world’s kindness (not just to others, but to ourselves) could make.