Recently I was listening to a Focus on the Family broadcast which had Shaunti Feldhahn as the guest. Shaunti recently wrote a book about kindness and she was discussing the concept.
She challenged us to pick a person with whom we might have a difficult relationship with – a friend, a boss, a co-worker, a spouse, or a family member. And for 30 days, to do the following:
- Don’t say anything negative about that person either to them, or to someone else.
- Each day, find at least one thing that you appreciate and/or enjoy about that person and tell the person and at least one other person.
- Each day, do one little act of kindness for that person
She went on to say that many of us have heard that “letting off some steam” or “venting” about something that bothers us is a good way to get it off our chest and eventually to let it go. But she said that brain research actually shows that “venting” about someone to someone else, actually further activate the brain’s anger system. So instead of letting something go because we think we’ve gotten it off our chest, we are actually turning up the heat and getting more and more angry towards that person.
The scripture also talks a lot about kindness.
Ephesians 4:31-32 (NLT) says “Get ride of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander….Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.”
One of my favorite scriptures about kindness comes from Romans 2:4 (NLT) “Don’t you see how wonderfully kind, tolerant, and patient God is with you? Does this mean nothing to you? Can’t you see that his kindness is intended to turn you from your sin?” Or I’ve heard this in another way, that God’s kindness leads us to repentance.
It is so much easier to not be kind. It’s even easy to justify our reasons for not being kind. But God tells us through his Word that we are to be kind, even when we don’t want to. I pray that you will be challenged as I was to try to put kindness into action and see if your difficult relationships change for the better. – Vijoy