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Intentional Kindness

This
is one of the first memory verses I learned as a child: “Be
kind, one to another.”
No one
explained what being kind meant, so I took it as not to slug my
brothers, even when provoked. Now I find that verse has more in
it….Be kind
and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in
Christ God forgave you
.
Ephesians 4:32.


Because
of my sinful nature, I was reminded often about the art of being kind
to others. After some time, 40 or 50 years, being kind had an
accidental feel, that I would chance upon. Imagine my surprise,
after I retired from teaching, when I chanced to meet a former
teacher friend who asked, “Do you remember when you came into my
classroom and said, ‘I think I need to hug you
and then you walked out again?”

I
didn’t remember, but I could see that it meant a lot to her. Now I
see and hear reports of Random Acts of Kindness, usually springing up
from paying for some one’s meal. The word random may label the act
of kindness and a some time thing. Yet, I believe it is mis-named,
and should be Intentional Kindness
from the heart.

When
Mother lived in a new town with few friends, she told me That when
she awoke, she prayed, “Lord, help me to find a way to serve you
today.” God answered her prayer each day with opportunities for
intentional kindness – she lived on the edge of compassion.

Adding
compassion to kindness creates a sense of walking in the shoes of
others and seeing their needs. It creates an understanding of seeing
others through the prism of the Creator of us all It means an act of
kindness motivated for others is motivated by love. Love that does
not manipulate or expect something in return.

Mark
Twain said, “Kindness
is a language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see.”

Kindness
is giving what you are and what you have in terms of talents,
spiritual gifts or the physical to meet the needs of others.
When
Mom was in her 80’s, she wondered what she would take when she
visited the ‘old’ people. In her former home, she had a garden of
vegetables and flowers. There was never a doubt what to take. Now
we simply smile when remembering how Mom said, “I’m going to visit
the old people.” Kindness was her middle name.

Mother
Teresa said,
“Every
time you smile at someone, it is an action of love, a gift to that
person, a beautiful thing.”

More
than just a smile, being kind means a sacrifice of love, an
intentional kindness, no matter the cost. How often I remember my Dad
helping someone and refusing to accept any remuneration. Kindness
was his joy.

And
if anyone gives even a cup of cold water to
one of these little ones who is my disciple, truly I tell
you, that person will certainly not lose their reward.”

Matthew 10:42 Giving, helping ‘the least of these’ provides a joy
of completeness to the giver who gives in the name of Jesus.

The
Fruit of the Spirit includes Love, Joy, Peace, Patience and then
comes Kindness. Love is first because true love motivates joy, peace
and patience before we have the motivation and the desire to be kind.
After that comes goodness, gentleness faithfulness and self-control.
(Galatians 5:22-23).
There
is no law against behaving in any of these ways.

(Contemporary English Version)


Such
life-giving fruit can only come from God. Just as the fruit of the
flesh is descibed as…
The
acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and
debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits
of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy;
drunkenness, orgies, and the like.
Galatians
5:19-21a

A
mystery! How can the beauty of the Holy Spirit change a heart so?
It is the kindnesses of our Lord God of loving and caring for us. It
is the joy of being His through Jesus. It is the peace that comes
from delighting in the Lord. It is the hope that comes alive like a
rose in a desert. It is like the mystery of watching earth come
alive and grow green in the Spring. It is the mystery of kindness
that humbles the heart in joy and settles the unhappy moment. It is
praying for others that we don’t know, a secret between God and the
prayer. It is the mystery of being parents and watching our children
grow spiritually in the Lord and our grandchildren finding the
kindness in Jesus, a way of life, even as their grandparents did
generations ago.

Being
kind to another is like a touch of an angel for it comes from the
love and kindness of God through Jesus Christ.

Comments? eacombs@att.net

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