Kindness is the next characteristic of love in the 1 Corinthians 13 passage of Scripture. Defined as “the state or quality of being kind; (a) friendly feeling; liking…” I’ve recently spent a bit of time pondering why people are so angry about things like having to be politically correct or the perpetuity of Affirmative Action and – for me – it came down to one major theme: people have forgotten how to be kind. Worse yet, people often make the conscious decision to be unkind to another person, for whatever reason they deem valid and legitimate.
Being kind seems like it would be a very easy concept to master. If you glance at the state of most of our communities and the world, you may see that it’s not often reflected in the behavior of those around us; it’s not always seen in ourselves. We’ve actually gotten to a place where people have to be forced to be kind to one another.
Can you imagine bringing that mentality and attitude into your marriage?
I’ve always been a huge proponent of being BFFs with your spouse. When I decided that I desired marriage, I looked for someone with whom I could have an amazing friendship. I hoped that if it was meant to be, that I would have the blessing of marrying my friend.
Think about this…do you have unkind people in your life? Do you consider them friends?
Scripture speaks often about being kind to each other. Romans 12:10 says “Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; give preference to one another in honor…” Ephesians 4:32 reminds us to “Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.”
In the grand scheme of things, the people that I think have the easiest time understanding the concept of kindness are children…because their default setting is to be kind and to be happy!
I know that we’re all adults. Too often as we grow older, we start to think that there is nothing that a child can teach us; they haven’t been here long enough to know anything, let alone teach us.
here are 4 practical ways to show kindness, seen through the eyes of a child:
Genuinely say hello!
One of the easiest – and most impactful – things in maintaining a loving home is being happy to see your significant other. When I watch kids greet their friends, they radiate joy! They are sincerely happy to see their playmate and partner-in-crime; it shows in their immediate reaction upon seeing each other. Your partner will be especially open and receptive if you greet them with warmth and wholeheartedness when they come home, when you meet for lunch, etc. Church Christians are told to “Greet one another with the kiss of love…” 1 Peter 5:14a
Give a gift you know your partner likes!
In our congregation, we often quote this scripture in giving for the financial collection: “Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” (2 Corinthians 9:7) but I can easily see how it translates into our relationships.
I love seeing the excitement on a child’s face when they get something that they want! Flowers and beer bouquets can be very nice but do you know your partner’s love language? Do you know what thing or action makes them feel valued? Find out what makes them feel loved and appreciated…and then cheerfully make it happen.
Kids typically don’t stay mad for the sake of being angry or to teach their friend a lesson. When they’re mad at their playmate, they realize that they’ve lost their playmate. It’s fine to talk out your grievances – encouraged even – but in your relationship, you have to forgive in order to move forward.
People are inevitably going to disappoint you but how you go forward will depend just as much on forgiving as being able to ask for forgiveness WHEN you need it. Remember Luke 6:37… “Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven;” Forgiving someone doesn’t make you a doormat. It’s actually what gives you freedom in any relationship you’re in.
Be completely caught up in the moment!
Have you ever seen a child with a new toy or a game on their mom’s iPad? They are completely consumed by the shiny new thing in their hands! I frequently joke that I have the attention span of a toddler. When I talk to my hubby, I pay close attention to what he’s saying. I listen, not with anticipation of what I’m going to say, but because I want him to know that he is important. That what he has to say is important.
One of the kindest things you can do for another person is to let them know that they matter. It can be as simple as taking the time to listen to what they have to say. I like this part of the Proverbs of wisdom: “Mak(ing) your ear attentive to wisdom and inclining your heart to understanding…” Proverbs 2:2.
Are you wondering just how being kind in your relationship will lead to a better situation or a great marriage? Well, coming from a woman (women are always right, right?) I like what Richard Carlson had to say about that…
“Choose being kind over being right, and you’ll be right every time.”
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