Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. Colossians 3:12-14
I feel as if I have discovered a treasure, on another blog I came across the writings of J.R. Miller. I tried to backtrack and find it so I could thank them but in all my online wanderings yesterday I lost track of where I was. He writes about something I have been working on in myself lately, being less critical and more kind. He uses the word “forbearance.” He has this to say:
“If we resent every apparent injustice, demand the righting of every little wrong, and insist upon chafing, and uttering our feelings at every infinitesimal grievance, and if all the other parties in the circle claim the same privilege–what miserable beings we shall all be, and how wretched life will become! But there is a more excellent way. The Spirit of Christian love inculcated in the New Testament will, if permitted to reign in each heart and life, produce fellowship without a jar or break.” And I love what he says about how “Christ puts a veil over our faults.”
A popular Christian author/speaker once challenged herself to not say one negative thing for a day. I can’t recall who it was, but she ended up being silent for the better part of the day.
I asked my Mom, “Did the world seem a kinder place when you were growing up?” She says, emphatically, “Yes!” I am talking about general terms here, because it is easy to romanticize the past, since we are no longer in it. But she says groups of teenagers, sometimes as many as 20 would go to the beach on a bus and nobody would even think of doing anything malicious. The boys treated the girls like gentlemen, and nobody got drunk or high. Everyone danced with everyone else, and they all looked out for each other. Wow. You could actually walk around in the middle of the night and have no fear. Kids respected not only their own parents, but the parents of their friends.
It is sometimes very hard to be kind. My friend took her Alzheimer’s afflicted mother to the store the other day. Her mom gets very sharp and unkind and leaves things she doesn’t want out of place, and argues about what she needs and doesn’t need. She has to go in the same entrance every time, otherwise she stands in the store and turns circles, lost. My friend is a master at the “soft answer” that turns away wrath, by God’s grace. It’s not easy, but it’s right.
In a world that sometimes seems very harsh, a kind act stands out and has the power to stop us in our tracks. I am now surprised when a young man holds a door for me…SORRY I miss this! I try to be nice to anyone in customer service, they have a tough job. My Mom has only two “people categories” either nice or not nice. I think there is some truth to that.