Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Show a Little Kindness!

Fruit of the Spirit Series - part 5
"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering (patience),
gentleness (kindness)..." Galatians 5:22
Here’s an experiment for you to try…maybe with your kids.  Mix one to one and a half cups cornstarch with one cup of warm water, preferably in a wide and shallow container.  Dissolve the cornstarch in the water, and then let it sit for a few minutes.  Pour any standing water off the top. 
Then the fun begins!  First, have a child hit the cornstarch mixture in order to try and move it.  He will quickly find it feels as hard as a rock!  (Be prepared for a bit of splattering to occur!)

Then instruct the child to take a finger or two and gently dig down into the cornstarch and try to scoop it up.  He will find, surprisingly, that it can be done! 

I have used this object lesson to visualize to children the vast advantage a kind response has over a sharp one.  I emphasized that there is a CHOICE we make in our treatment of others.  We talked about the story of David and Mephibosheth found in 2 Samuel 9:1-13 and how David’s gentle goodness to Jonathan’s son made such a difference in that young man’s life!
Then we looked at the verses in Philippians 2 (The Message) that read, “Don’t push your way to the front…put yourself aside and help others get ahead….Forget yourselves long enough to lend a helping hand.”

And this one from 1 Peter (The Message) – “Be agreeable, by sympathetic, be loving, be compassionate, be humble…bless – that’s your job, to bless. You’ll be a blessing and also get a blessing.”

Bananas are what I might call a “gentle” fruit…no sharpness or bite, not even crispy or crunchy.  They gently add their flavor to the dishes in which they are found without boldly proclaiming their presence. 
They add to without taking from.  Gentleness or kindness works in much the same manner. 

God in His great mercy is so wonderfully kind to each of us - Psalm 117:2 reminds us of this fact: “For his merciful kindness is great toward us: and the truth of the LORD endureth for ever. Praise ye the LORD.”

That kindness is meant to be passed on and not kept to ourselves. 
Ephesians 4:32 “And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you.”

1 Corinthians 13:4 “Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up…”
What can we take away from this lesson?  How can we apply this principle of gentleness and kindness to our own lives?  Maybe taking time to think back to some scenarios we've faced where we did not experience kindness will help us visualize some opportunities we might have to express kindness to others…sometimes experience is the very best teacher. 

True kindness comes from a heart yearning to please God.  It pours forth from a heart that is grateful to a loving God for the infinite kindnesses He has shown.

It is not a performance for man’s approval. 
It is not to be granted in order to assure “what goes around comes around.”

It is not an option for a Christian.  It IS a command.  There are also no exceptions granted. 
Hmmmm….more to process.  More to learn.  More to practice.

Dear Lord, please open my heart and mind to Your truths for me.  Help me to incorporate these principles into my daily life.  Please teach me to be more like You as I serve my husband, my children and my world each and every day.  Let the ones around me who know me best see Your light shining through my eyes, hear Your voice in my words, feel Your touch through my hands…

Experiencing daily the kindness of the Father,

1 comment:

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