Today as I have gone through my day, the word ‘kindness’ keeps coming into my mind. I’m not saying I’ve been particularly kind today. I kind of stalled between ‘not kind’ and ‘kind’ if you know what I mean. In fact, today was one of those days that I realize that although I am kinder than I used to be, God has a lot more to work into me. Nevertheless, God is speaking to my heart that He is kind. So kind. We throw around ‘be kind’ all day if we are a parents. So much so that it may have lost some of it’s meaning. We can learn a lot by looking at some synonyms for kind – affectionate, soft-hearted, amiable, charitable, gracious, humane, kindhearted, bleeding heart, understanding, all heart, bounteous, gentle, sympathetic, friendly and thoughtful. Sometimes to get a really good handle on a word, I like to look at antonyms (I know I’m a nerd but bear with me – I told you I think a lot) Some antonyms are aloof, antagonistic, cold, cool, cruel, disagreeable, hard, harsh, hateful, inattentive, indifferent, mean, merciless, uncompassionate, unfeeling and unsympathetic. After writing out this list, I feel like I could sit here a long time. Even now as in right this second, God is exposing how there are STILL places where if I were truly honest, I believe that He is opposite of kind. Do you realize that any of the antonyms of kind that we think about God are a lie to keep us from Him?
So much of how we act towards others shows us what we TRULY believe about God and how He deals with us. I think if we could see His unimaginable kindness, grace and compassion toward all He has made, we wouldn’t hold our fellow sojourners with contempt, demand our own rights and be so self-centered. I can almost promise that those who love to watch others fail, stand in judgment of broken hearts acting out brokeness instead of heartbroken over it have not come to know the kindness of the Father. Neither can we know the Father and stand by and say that brokeness or sin is fine any more than we could look at a person suffering in chains and tell them in love that although they can be free, their chains are a fine choice. Love would help the person realize that bondage of any kind is not a good option when freedom is available. He detests our chains, but He LOVES us and we were designed to be free. As the Designer, He knows that more than any of us. Sometimes we people get a little mixed up and think that our chains are freedom and true freedom is bondage. When we begin to understand God’s true heart for us, freedom begins to come and as freedom comes, we can see more of His heart for us. When we see more judgment coming from us than kindness, we need to ask God to show us His heart for us. Sometimes we’re impossibly hard on ourselves and live with a sense that we will never measure up. Can I just say from one broken but healed (probably more accurately ‘healing’) person to another that this is condemnation and not God’s heart towards us?
Living under condemnation does not produce freedom from sin, but rather bondage to it. I have talked about this before, but for me anger was a real issue. I am so excited to be able to say WAS. That is a huge, huge, huge deal. I really can’t even tell you, but when I struggled for years with it, I felt bad every. single. day. Every night, I went to bed with every outburst on my mind and a melody that went along with it that sang, “You’re a bad mom. You’ll never be free.” I wasn’t outbursting all day or even every day, but definitely enough that I began to feel the strangle of it on my life. I have said before that I am really wordy. That can be great if it’s good words, but my wordiness was not my friend when I was angry. My words were cutting, angry and cynical. The part that was so strangling for me was that what was seen on the outside was only a small part of the volcano erupting inside of me. You probably know what your thing is.
For me, everything changed when I saw God’s heart towards me. I’ve ‘known’ it my whole life, but I think that truth be told, I believed more of the antonym of kind list than the synonym of kind one. I began to see that the condemning voice was not God’s, but the enemy who was trying to destroy me and not only that, but speak lies to my children through the same lips that pray for them and carefully speak life and truth to them. When I saw that He is gentle, sympathetic, involved and attentive, suddenly my anger didn’t seem insurmountable. I had a God Who is fighting WITH me and for me. I didn’t have to fight to get to Him! That was a lie I believed. Jesus did that already on the Cross!! He healed a lot and I found refuge in Him for my heart. The erupting volcano was calmed by His kindness and compassion towards me. Instead of focusing on what I’m not, I began to pay attention to Who He is. When you know you have an Advocate like it says in I John 2:1 and a kind, compassionate one at that, it really can’t help but change you. Suddenly, you’re not alone and trying to get to God. Rather, He comes alongside you and fights with you for your freedom and wholeness. When you are overwhelmed, He is understanding. When you blow it, He is your soft-hearted toward you. When your heart is broken, His heart bleeds for you. Go ahead look at the list. This is His heart for you. No matter where you’re at, no matter who you are – this is God’s heart toward you. Romans 2:4 says that His kindness leads us to repentance. Repentance leads to wholeness, so this verse is essentially saying that God’s kindness leads us ultimately to a healed and whole heart which is a free heart. God desperately wants us to see that He is kind-hearted towards us. My FAVORITE verse of all time is Ephesians 2:5-7 Even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved) and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the Heavenly places in Jesus Christ, SO THAT in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Jesus Christ. Do you see this?!! All of those synonyms of kindness listed above (and there are many more) God wants to demonstrate to us from now and throughout all eternity. He saved us in order to show us kindness for FOREVER. Let that sink in!! This God who so often is portrayed as unkind, stoic, angry and resentful is not like that at all. He has a compassion that goes deep and a heart that bleeds. Sin is His enemy, but man is not. Sometimes, He does bring judgment, but it is always with the intent of restoring hearts to Him. He despises sin in the same way that you would despise the chains if you had a son or daughter in bondage. He is on the side of your freedom. Sometimes, oddly, we get mixed up and are on the side of our bondage and it can seem that He is against us, but we can rest assure that as long as we have breath, God is working on our behalf to bring us to Him and restore our hearts. I can look back over the course of my almost 39 years and trace His hand before I got saved at age 20 and then after and it’s like a beautiful script of Him unlocking doors of my life setting me free. His kindness is incomprehensible. It really is. I couldn’t always see it in the middle of things, but my story is probably close to half-written now and things are a little clearer than they used to be. I have never found him to be less than what I had hoped for when I seek Him. Only more, more of everything good. Let’s not forget the kindness of God. When we can’t see it, let’s ask Him to open our eyes. Afterall, He desires to show us His kindness more than we could ever desire to see it.
I heard this quote today and thought it shows God’s heart toward us so well and what will happen in our heart as we know Him. Not only that, but it perfectly depicts this kind-hearted God we serve who sent His Son to share in the human sufferings and rescue our hearts from them. When you read it, think about this being God’s heart towards each of us.
“Compassion asks us to go where it hurts, to enter into the places of pain, to share in brokenness, fear, confusion and aguish. Compassion challenges us to cry out with those in misery, to mourn with those who are lonely, to weep with those in tears. Compassion requires us to be weak with the weak (the difference here is that God is our strength in weakness) vulnerable with the vulnerable, and powerless with the powerless. Compassion means full immersion in the condition of being human.” – Henri J.M. Nouwen