Engaging our culture through simple acts of kindness.

Were you ever bullied on the playground? Or called names by the neighbor kid? Do you have an annoying co-worker? A friend who pushes your buttons?
 
When I was a kid, my mom would admonish me, “Josh, kill them with kindness.”
 
The motive behind this advice may sound harsh, but I believe it tells us something about the power of kindness. In Romans 2:4, the apostle Paul puts it this way: “God’s kindness leads you toward repentance.” My mom and the apostle Paul knew the same biblical truth: Kindness has the power to soften hearts.
 
The Greek root for kindness, as used in the New Testament, means uprightness or benevolence and describes the ability to act for the welfare of those taxing our patience. Kindness can be quite unnatural, though. When we have been hurt or offended, we tend to react in anger or bitterness. But kindness leads us to do just the opposite — to respond with love and forgiveness (Ephesians 4:32).
Kindness is when your child, though treated badly by a friend, shares gummy bears with his friend at snack time. Kindness is when you, though frustrated by your child’s poor choices, choose not to react in anger. It’s an unnatural act that comes supernaturally through the Holy Spirit.
 
But kindness by itself is insufficient. Paul describes kindness as a part of the fruit of the Spirit, which also includes love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23). He speaks about the fruit of the Spirit, however, not as a list of isolated character traits, but as one thing.
 
It’s especially important for kindness to be accompanied by goodness. That’s because kindness without goodness can become tolerant of sin — just as goodness without kindness can be harsh and legalistic. We show the fruit of the Spirit only as we develop these qualities together.
 
Children of all ages can begin to understand kindness from a biblical perspective. The following age-specific activities and discussions will help your child explore this important and relevant topic.
 
—Dr. Joshua Straub / Focus on the Family
 
Key Points
 
Kindness has the power to soften people’s hearts.
Kindness is the ability to act for the welfare of those who test our patience.
To be genuine, kindness must be accompanied by the rest of the fruit of the Spirit.
Family Memory Verse
 
Titus 3:4-5
“But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we have done, but because of his mercy.”
 
Scripture Study
 
For a more in-depth look at kindness, read these Bible passages:
 
Matthew 5:43-45.      Romans 11:22        Ephesians 2:6-7.         Colossians 3:12

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City Slicker Vs. Country Girl

I’m a city Kitty, so not having the luxury of growing up in the country where running through fields and playing in creek beds is the norm for a child, I’m skittish when I go out into nature. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy the outdoors immensely but I’m not accustom to all things crawly. When walking, I typically walk with my head down looking for venomous things like snakes, and spiders, and bees. At any moment I just know I’m going to be under siege. So I am on guard and ready to take off running while doing some kind of crazy wild dance to try to escape my attacker.
Today’s walk was no different than any other walk. Off I went across a field, head down, anxiously scanning the terrain for anything that may want to bite or sting me. I stopped along our Creek bed to take in the sound of the rushing creek. Once I gave the ground another quick scan, I looked up. Right above my head was a tree I had never noticed before. It had clusters of 3 beautiful burgundy flowers that hung from the branches all the way to the top of the tree.
 
In that moment, God revealed something. When I am hyperfocused on my problems, I don’t see Him. Being anxious and fearful over what might strike me, I’ve missed the enjoyment of admiring God’s creation.
 
Psalms 121:1-3 says, “I lift up my eyes to the mountains where does my help come from? 2 My help comes from the Lord, the Maker ofheaven and earth. 3 He will not let your foot slip— he who watches over you will not slumber.”
 
All too often, I try to “fix” my own problem or take care of myself, not remembering I have a God who promises to take care of me, if I would  only let Him. Realizing this in that moment, I was able to walk out of that field with my head up, taking in all the beauty around me. Oh sure,  the threat of poisonous things were still there, but my anxiety was gone because my Creator was taking care of me!
 

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