Marriage,  Uncategorized

Be Kind–Even and Especially–When You Don’t Feel Like It

Marriage is a lifelong commitment, and friendship is a lifelong engagement.

This post is part of our book club series. We’re on chapter two of  The Virtuous Life of a Christ-Centered Wife. Today we’re discussing the virtue of kindness. More info on the book club is found underneath the post. (View table of contents here.)

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In this chapter, I’m drawn to the story of The Good Samaritan (Luke 10).  Jesus was answering a lawyer who asked, “What shall I do to inherit eternal life?”

Instead of answering that question directly, Jesus prompted him toward a deeper understanding, asking him what is written in the law. His response was, “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself.” (v. 27)

Like us, many had heard this scripture time and again. But few understood that loving your neighbor is an act of merciful kindness and grace.

Jesus shared a parable with him about The Good Samaritan who went out of his way to help someone in need while others just passed him by on the other side of the road.

One little word in this chapter stood out to me. It speaks volumes. It teaches us what real kindness entails. And as I dig a bit deeper, I see that Jesus made a point to use this word often.

Mercy. eleos in the Greek translation. (Strongs G1656) Defined as: mercy: kindness or good will towards the miserable and the afflicted, joined with a desire to help them. A) of men towards men: to exercise the virtue of mercy, show one’s self merciful

I’ve often said that it’s easy to love those who love us, but the challenge lies in our ability to love the unlovable. That calls for grace. I think it must be said often because there’s this mindset around us that wants to reinforce this idea that kindness is only for those who deserve it.

The familiar phrase, “It has to go both ways,” doesn’t take into account merciful grace.

Kindness doesn’t sit around analyzing a situation to determine whether this person is right or that person is wrong. Kindness is a charitable gift–it reaches out to those in need.

If we hope to grow in virtue, then we must keep our eyes focused on Christ at all times. He is the one leading the dance. He’s the one we take our cue from.

Don’t let your character be shaped by the attitude of others around you. If someone is unkind, respond with kindness. If someone is getting on your nerves be patient. There are times when we must draw healthy boundaries. But I pray that you use wisdom in doing so, and pray about the situation earnestly. Don’t give up on people too quickly. Consider our Lord Who took on our sin and forgave those who crucified Him.

Make an effort to clothe yourself in kindness even and especially when you don’t feel like being kind.

Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, 13 bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another,forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. 14 And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. – Colossians 3:12-14, ESV

Finally, let’s talk about complacency and how it can affect our kindness. You get comfortable with your surroundings and your situation. You’ve got a guy with a lifetime commitment. You don’t have to impress him. Day in and day out you wake up together and you know that at the end of the day you’ll be heading right back to that same room again. There’s no challenge, at least not on the surface…

But here’s the things. There’s always a challenge to capture and grab hold of his heart. Marriage is a lifelong commitment, and friendship is a lifelong engagement. Each and every day you have the opportunity to engage with each other. Put in the effort and the attention it takes to keep your friendship alive.

Be friendly, helpful, considerate, loving, and patient. In other words, be kind.

You are loved by an Almighty God,

Darlene

Let’s discuss chapter 3 on Monday!

What are some of the thoughts that you have on chapter two? What are your thoughts on kindness? Please leave a comment below! (subscribers click through to the blog)

Find out more about the book here. Feel free to jump in to the book club with us at anytime. If we’re a few chapters ahead of you–that’s okay because you can get to those anytime.

Join The Virtuous Life Book Club on Facebook

Today’s Challenge:
Take opportunities as they come up to offer kindness to others both in your marriage and outside the home. And do at least one thing that requires you to go out of your way this week to either help someone else or just brighten their day.

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9 Comments

  • Nancy

    I made a Lenten commitment that I would not engage in an argument with my husband of almost 14 years. This article is at the heart of what I need to remember to be able to keep my promise to God. So often my husband brushes me off in many aspects of our marriage, and I have resorted to making him pay attention by arguing. Granted I know that is not the way to go about getting him to help me keep our marriage together, but now it’s been hard to stop. I’ve made it a week and a half so far by just giving to him and not expecting anything in return. LOTS of prayers each day to put a guard over my tongue!

    Thanks for the series. You have made such a difference in my life!

  • Jana

    What a great reminder! I believe that sometimes we go through life just going through the motions, but what a wonderful thing kindness adds to our days! Some days I’m not feeling it….especially towards my family, and that’s when I just “fake it ’till I make it”! It always amazes me how kindness becomes more second nature the more that we put it into practice! Thanks for the reminder.

  • anu

    I’m glad to be a part of this bible study group. Sometimes, I find it hard to show kindness to someone that has hurt me,but now I found the easy way out,which is through prayer. The bible says pray without season, I guess all these issues are things God is expecting us to talk to him about. I am blessed,though not married yet,but soon to. Thank you.

  • Angie

    I am excited to be part of my first online book study. This chapter really hit home. It is easy to be kind when I am rested and not stressed, but when I am tired and stressed kindness is a lot harder. Unfortunately, my husband and kids are the ones who suffer. Jesus made time for people no matter what. Thank you for bringing all of these important qualities to us. I pray we are drawn closer to a Christ-centered life.

  • Dana Nelson

    Talk about stepping on someone’s toes! The part of this chapter that really hit home for me was the part about giving/showing kindness even when we don’t feel it is “deserved.” I really struggle with this when it comes to my husband for some reason. We both have full-time jobs outside the home, so housework is divided up. When I come home from work, ready to cook dinner, only to realize he hasn’t washed dishes, I don’t feel he “deserves” to be treated kindly; however, when it is put into context with Jesus being crucified for MY sins, I didn’t “deserve” that either! What an eye-opener for me…I will definitely be exercising my kindness muscle this week, especially towards my husband!

  • Melanie

    As I read through this chapter it was a great reminder that kindness is a virtue; it’ a change in behavior and how we respond to people. I lately have been giving my husband left overs; I work in retail and being kind to people is kind of an expectation especially if you want to make sales. I get exhausted and worn out. I lead a women’s bible study group who have a lot of “things” each week; I love these women and wouldn’t change a thing about them because they are working on themselves but again; I’m exhausted. I shared with my husband the other day I was tire of giving him “Leftovers” because he deserved better. Being the kind hearted man he is; he told me he didn’t feel this way because he understands I have a job and I have a ministry I love and these things take time. He shared he knows I do make time for him and the time he gets he loves. WOW talk about making me feel better.. but yet it didn’t… He deserves better. We are a blended family and my children are all adult children. We have 1 still in the house but September 8th he leaves to San Diego for boot camp with the United States Marine Corp. So, we will have an empty nest.. I see and observe my husband sitting alone a lot; I can read his body language and I know his love language is words of encouragement. It’s hurts me when his children cancel their weekend with their Dad; he looks forward to it and this weekend they almost did again. I prayed over this but, I knew I would have to have a conversation with is boys. I was angry and hurt because they hurt their father; but, I read this chapter (These boys are teenagers 18 & 15) and decided to approach the conversation with kindness; I praised them on their relationship they had with Christ and I praised them on how well they are doing in school and expressed we couldn’t be any happier for them. I expressed the importance of communication with their dad and also explained they needed to not cancel their time. Rather than making them feel defeated; I praised them showed them kindness and they really then began to understand the importance of spending the time they have with their dad especially with they have 13 days to spend time with friends. Thank you for this chapter and helping me to understand that being KIND IS A VIRTUE…

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