Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Colossians 3:12.
Last month, I chose Paul's words in Colossians to help me look at how God tells us to love. I explored "loving with compassion" last month, saying that God expects us to show care and concern for others, especially toward those who are experiencing difficult and hard times. Our Church members can do this by serving in some of our Outreach programs such as Hope Renewed, the Gathering Place, Meals on Wheels, and our Food Pantry, to name a few. We can easily do this at home by doing nice things when our loved ones are struggling, or just by showing understanding in such situations.
Again, we are called to love our neighbors as ourselves. (Matthew 22:39)
Kindness is next up for discussion. Kindness is defined as warmth, affection, gentleness, friendliness, being generous and considerate. To be kind is to do something nice for another person or to just be nice. In the recent hit movie Wonder, the young man who was bullied because of his "different" looks stated that it is important to be kind, not right. The 14th Dalai Lama said, "Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible."
For me, compassion comes easily but sometimes I realize that I was unkind after the fact. The teacher in me loves to teach others the right way, or simply, to be right. This is something I am working on very hard during this Season of Lent. I think it will be one of my lifelong goals. I know that I need to stop and pause before I speak, many times. Practice the pause!
Kindness needs to be practiced daily, just like any good habit, and it needs to be in our conscious, deliberate minds. Kindness involves intentional listening to others, and respecting where they are and what they are feeling. It requires empathy and at times, a disregard for our own agenda. We must be loving, mirroring the amazing, unconditional Love God has for us, ALWAYS. And, we must practice kindness with those around us daily, as the reality is that that can be more difficult than showing kindness to those we encounter in public. A true story!
Prayer: Father God, author of love and all that is good, guide me to love others in your honor, and with a spirit of kindness and respectful regard. Thank you for always loving me!