Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – March 18, 2019
Those who are kind benefit themselves, but the cruel bring ruin on themselves. Proverbs 11:17
Like a porcupine threatened by a predator, my flesh bristles when feeling disrespect or disapproval. Elevated blood pressure and harsh words begin to congeal, attempting to choke my soul. Only when I pray in my heart by inhaling humility and exhaling pride, do I respond kindly and keep from reacting in kind. By God’s grace I attempt to pause, reminding myself that comfort accompanies kindness in preparation for truth. Being patient is hardest, when I think I was helpful, but discover I was harmful. Kindness buys time to discover the best path to restoration.
The book of Proverbs is a reliable source of wisdom when true understanding requires a broader perspective. With riveting contrast, the good fruit of kindness—restoration, and the bad fruit of cruelty—ruin, compete for a heart to harvest. One benefits us, one hurts us. One builds up, one tears down. One is freeing, one is confining. One nourishes relationships, one starves relationships. One infuses life, one inflicts death. The wise choice seems simple, but wisdom is easily kidnapped by pride, who is only released by the costly ransom of humble selflessness.
“And the Lord’s servant must not quarrel, instead he must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful”. 2 Timothy 2:24
Are you tempted to react in kind when someone has been unkind to you? If so, pause before you say something you will regret and put yourself in the shoes of the one who may be unconsciously crying out for help. Ask the Lord, “what is the source of her pain”? Invite the Holy Spirit to school you in selfless listening and silent comforting. To the one risking vulnerability, be gentle and rational, not defensive and demanding. Like an experienced dancer who trusts her partner, allow kindness to take the lead in the conversational dance. At first, like two left feet, your words may feel clunky, but be patient for love to illuminate the best steps toward intimate dialogue.
Sustained kindness clings to Christ in faith, so He can be called on to be the best mediator between unkind interactions. The kindness of Jesus leads us to repentance and healing. As we take our unkind actions or the unkind actions of others to Jesus—He comforts our sorrow and heals our bruised hearts. We can be kind, since Christ and His kindness dwells in our heart. “Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, forbearance and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness is intended to lead you to repentance?” (Romans 2:4).
Precious Lord, use your kindness in my life to lead me to repentance and grow me more like Jesus, in His name I pray, amen.
Who has treated me unkindly that I need to show kindness to and who have I been unkind toward, who needs for me to ask forgiveness?
Only when I pray in my heart by inhaling humility and exhaling pride can I respond in love. #wisdomhunters #kindness
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