I never knew it but for a long time I never understood the real reason of why it was important to be kind to others.
I can remember being taught the saying “do unto others as you would have them do unto you” from Matthew 7:12 and I believed what this verse was communicating was that if you gave kindness to others, others will give kindness in return. We treat people as we want to be treated in hope of someone giving back kindness to us in return.
I interpreted this teaching from the Bible as a young girl, just one verse, which is a good verse in itself but without proper teaching and my own ability to turn a verse into what I want it to mean, I led a life giving kindness and expecting kindness in return.
This way of living gave me many years of giving kindness and receiving disappointment.
Living a life giving out kindness and expecting kindness in return is not a great way to live. Everyone out there is fighting battles I can’t even begin to know about. People are lost, insecure, hurting, scared and jealous. All on their own levels. But everyone is fighting a some kind of battle in the same way I am fighting mine to put off the lostness, the insecurities, the hurts, the fears and learning to love yourself enough to not compare your life to the lives of others.
I have lived enough years now to know that giving kindness does not always return kindness. You can smile at that runner on your route every week and they may never smile back.
You can like someone’s photos on Facebook, wish them a Happy Birthday, take interest in their life and family and they may never take interest in you back. They may never wish you a Happy Birthday and they may even unfollow you.
And this is life. Living life is raw with real hurts to your heart and life lessons beneath the surface. It has taken me ten years of following Jesus to unravel my thoughts about kindness. Ten years of undoing the things I thought were true and letting God weave truth within me from His Word. What is true about kindness is we do not give kindness to receive kindness.
We give kindness to others only because God is kind.
It has taken ten years of reading the Bible as an entire story and ten years to learn how to unravel what is untrue about kindness. To take that one good verse and place it in the midst of all the other verses that God speaks to us about kindness. To synthesize them all together under teachings from Sunday mornings and participation in Bible studies.
Ephesians 4:32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.
Psalms 36:7 How precious is Your lovingkindness, O God! And the children of men take refuge in the shadow of Your wings.
Psalms 63:3 Because Your lovingkindness is better than life, My lips will praise You.
Acts 20:35b – It is more blessed to give than to receive.
Galatians 6:9a – Let us not lose heart in doing good.
I John 3:19 – We love, because He first loved us.
Hebrews 13:1-2 – Let love of the brethren continue. Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by this some have entertained angels without knowing it.
James 3:17-18 – For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there is disorder and every evil thing. But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, reasonable, full of mercy and good fruits, unwavering, without hypocrisy. And the seed whose fruit is righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.
It has taken me ten years to learn that giving kindness is not about receiving kindness in return. Kindness should be given to show others the love of God. I can only be responsible for my part and I cannot control how others respond to me. I do not know their battles. I can only know mine. And it is a fight for me to give kindness when kindness is not returned.
So that is my battle for now.
I will be kind because God is kind, giving kindness freely and expecting nothing in return. I believe this is where the root of true kindness begins. When we give and expect nothing in return. Just as God has given us Himself, in our messes, and He abundantly bestows his lovingkindness on us even when sometimes we are too blinded by ourselves to give him anything in return.
As Christians we have to get off the hamster wheel of giving kindness to receive kindness. We have to give kindness only because God is kind and expect nothing in return. It is there that we can find true kindness, without selfish ambition. It is there that we can have that runner not smile back every week and remember how long God has bestowed his lovingkindness on us and we have looked the other way and not smiled back in return.
We can only give kindness because God was kind to us first. Over and over again.
That is the truth and that is what I have been missing all these years.
We can only be kind because God is kind.
Stick with me and follow this blog as I continue to write stories about what it is like to unravel and learn to be Christian in the front row at church. I am forever learning, growing and trusting that God has begun a good work in me and is bringing it to completion.