Today, November 13, 2017, has been designated as World Kindness Day. Do we really have to set aside a day on the calendar to get people to be kind to one another? God thinks we should be kind to others everday! Ephesians 4:32 says, “And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.”
Being kind really isn’t difficult. You simply have to put away selfishness and put others before yourself. It’s letting the person over into your lane in rush hour traffic. It’s holding a door open for the next person coming in as you leave. It’s saying, “Have a nice day.” It’s complimenting someone’s hair, dress, or suit. It’s picking up the tab when you go out with a friend.
Tenderhearted means having a kind, gentle or sentimental nature. 1 Peter 3:8 says, “Now finally, all of you should be like-minded and sympathetic, should love believers, and be compassionate and humble.” Sympathetic, love, compassionate, and humble are good examples of one that is tenderhearted. Other synonyms for tenderhearted are: charitable, gentle, kind, and merciful. The opposite of tenderhearted would be: atrocious, cruel, self-absorbed, brutal, callous, hateful, heartless, and insensitive. How do others describe you?
Forgiving one another can sometimes be hard, especially when people do things to harm us physically, emotionally or sexually. It’s difficult when someone betrays your trust. Yet, God, in His Word, says we are to forgive one another even as Christ has forgiven us. Forgiving doesn’t mean that what was done to us is okay, it just means we release it and let it go. It means we stop feeling angry and resentful towards the person. When we harbor anger and bitterness, it creates a chronic anxiety that affects our health. According to John Hopkins Medicine, “Chronic anger puts you into a fight-or-flight mode, which results in numerous changes in heart rate, blood pressure and immune response. Those changes, then, increase the risk of depression, heart disease and diabetes, among other conditions. Forgiveness, however, calms stress levels, leading to improved health. Studies have found that the act of forgiveness can reap huge rewards for your health, lowering the risk of heart attack; improving cholesterol levels and sleep; and reducing pain, blood pressure, and levels of anxiety, depression and stress.” So how does one forgive when a grievous wrong has been done? It’s more than just saying, “I forgive you.” You must choose to make an active, conscious decision to let go of the anger, bitterness, and resentment…whether the person deserves it or not. One way to do this is to begin praying for the person. There is something about praying for them that helps you release the anger, resentment, and hostility and God replaces those emotions with empathy and compassion. Another way, is to do acts of kindness for this person. When you’re angry with someone it can be hard to think of something kind, so I wanted to share the graphic below that I found at https://www.naturalbeachliving.com/acts-of-kindness/. Kindness doesn’t have to cost you money…it just requires that give of yourself.
How many of the 100 acts of kindness on this graphic can you do today to the people that come across your path? Try at least one for a person you struggle to forgive.