Almost without a doubt I can say that behind every rude comment, dirty look, or grouchy disposition is a hurting person. Can we, as God’s chosen people, choose to be kind no matter what?
God continues to show me that a kind answer truly does turn away wrath. It’s as if choosing to do what He instructs in the Bible actually works. Weird.
Always Be Kind
There are days I am so tired I can’t see straight. Still, I must be kind. People have spat out biting words, have verbally disapproved of my choices, and have questioned my motives. It hurts. I want to become defensive. But when I respond in kindness, the person softens.
People have been angry with me for saying “no,” for setting healthy boundaries, for doing what God wants instead of what they want. I’m tempted to lash out. But when I take a step back, pray, and respond in kindness, the person softens.
Often I feel justified in letting someone know my side of the story. How dare someone get frustrated or angry with me?
But kindness is the right response. Always, always, always be kind.
Friends, we aren’t entitled. No one owes us anything. People may spew out cutting remarks that “we don’t deserve.” Not everyone is seeking Jesus and therefore, not everyone will act like Him. This shouldn’t shock us. This shouldn’t offend us. This shouldn’t make us step up indignantly with an ungodly retort.
Most definitely we should not spit out our grievances to friends or on social media, getting others to join our side with, “I can’t believe that happened to you! What is wrong with people these days!?” This invites the enemy to set up camp. He sees his chance to be a part of something gross and he eagerly grabs on. “Let’s do this together,” he says. “I’ll give you more hurtful words. I’ll provide you with wonderful responses. I’ll put more indignant people on your side. Oh, it’s on.”
Lord, forgive us.
Consider Jesus’ response to all who opposed Him. Never did He give an eye-roll and spit out, “Did you really just say that to me? Do you even know who I am?”
Because obviously the people didn’t know who He was and Jesus knew that. His response was compassion. “Father, forgive them. They don’t know what they’re doing.”
Can we learn to respond to ugliness like Jesus did? Can we practice surrender of self and a heart full of grace toward the hurting? Can we react to biting remarks with gentleness and compassion?
The world tells us that this makes us weak. Truth tells us that this makes us strong. After all, it’s easy to disregard self-control, to vomit up the first ugly retort that comes to mind, to meditate on a hurtful conversation, and to nurse bitterness. But it takes great strength to do what is right. One who relies on God’s strength to truly show love in adversity displays incredible wisdom and courage.
People will wrong you. Hurt people will react in the only ways they know and have been taught. The broken have forgotten to smile and are unable to look up, unable to recognize hope and goodness. It’s up to God’s people to shine light through the darkness.
Let the Lord be at work in you. Deny yourself, pick up your cross, realize the Truth within you that has set you free.
Be filled with the Holy Spirit and let His fruit pour out as you look beyond the circumstances and into the heart of the hurting.
Always, always, always be kind.