kīnd\ (adjective) – showing or growing out of gentleness or goodness of heart.
As I look in the public square, it’s easy to see a kindness deficit. Tempers flare in our political atmosphere and divisions widen in our nation’s demographic. Surely there is hope. But, if we reject goodness in the heart, we must accept bitterness in the soul.
As I look at my heart, I aim to be kind whenever possible; but is it always possible?
Here’s one possibility.
During a recent trip to the grocery store, the cashier was friendly and efficient. But when I unpacked my groceries at home, I was missing a loaf of bread and a package of buns.
Not a big deal. But a winter storm was moving in and the scant supply on the shelves said bread was essential to our existence.
As I drove back to the store, with the concept of this series in my mind, I knew this was a chance to “let God” change me.
I wondered if this was a case of cashier error or the result of my mistake. I walked in the store with kindness until the clerk said, “Oh yeah, you left your bag. We put your stuff back on the shelf.”
I checked to see if kindness was still around.
In my head I screamed: I was at the store less than an hour ago. Isn’t there a grace period for lost groceries?
Before I became vocal, truth interrupted: Kindness flows from the fruit of the Spirit. It is the result of His Presence in us.
“But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!” – Galatians 5:22-23 NLT (emphasis mine)
It’s difficult to serve the Spirit’s fruit to others when I’m preoccupied with their faults. However, kindness shifts my focus. As I yield to the reality of His goodness, I see the compassion of Christ.
Then, I can kindly tell someone the truth.
I can courteously communicate a boundary.
Generously help someone in need.
Kindness expresses Christ’s abundant life in me towards what is lacking around me.
It’s easy to meet lack with lack when someone else lacks patience, lacks honesty or lacks anything else I would like to see or hear. However, If my lack shows up too (which it’s been known to do), the next step gets ugly. My words and thoughts become my weapons.
But there’s no peace in my surrender to self.
I searched for peace as I followed the clerk down the bread aisle. But before she retrieved my restocked items, she paused. Then she turned to me and said, “Actually this was my fault. I put your bread items to the side so they wouldn’t get crushed.” I thanked her as she gave me my forgotten groceries.
I thanked God honesty showed up. I wonder if kindness brought it there.
Granted, my grocery store mishap is not the worst that can happen. You may have your own story about what was left behind or how you were let down.
But when our next step is to be kind, we have chosen our next victory.
Anger and outrage may be justified behavior; but being kind is sanctified behavior. It tempers the pace of what offends us and overcomes evil with good. (see Romans 12:20-21).
I ask again: Is being kind always possible? Only with the power of God.
In His power, I become wise rather than waging a war of words. I remain approachable to those who are hurting and rise above crude behavior. It happens when I let God change the way I think. Then what is lacking meets what He longs to give — an abundance of hope for the heart and joy to the soul.