Be KindJanuary 21, 2013
Wow. I realized I hadn’t posted a blog in about a week. Life here just keeps trucking. I have ideas in my head–need to finish my “Tell Me Abouts” and write about my grandmothers; ideas about serving others; and of course a Bench Message. Today, with the exception of going to E.o.t.T., is supposed to be a relaxing day but it really isn’t. I have so much to catch up on and do for the upcoming busy week. So with checklist in hand and a tummy full of delicious chilli … here is this week’s (or is it last week’s) Bench Message: Be Kind.
We are beginning a 14 week study of Acts. It coincides with what I’m teaching in my Joyful Servant class about the church and beliefs and practices. I’m particularly interested in studying what is a hard and fast rule, what is cultural, and what is merely a gray area. I’m feeling energized by both classes.
Our facilitator is reading N.T. Wright’s Acts for Everyone Part 1 and Part 2 in addition to the Bible text. We’re just delving into Chapter 3 of Acts and reading about Peter’s sermon at the Temple. The facilitator brings in John 1:14:
14 And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us (and we beheld his glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father), full of grace and truth. (NAS)
We were asked what does in mean to be “Full of grace and truth?” It was a great discussion. I don’t know whether the following can be attributed to the facilitator or the N.T. Wright but it struck a chord with me, especially as I’m trying to make this the Year of Listening.
“Even the right words said at the wrong time can be devastating.”
If grace is giving undeserved kindness and mercy and we are to be more Christ-like, how do we show that?
Right now I have a few stresses in my life that could use some addressing. But quite honestly, there really isn’t a “right” time. “If I could just educate them, show them the error of their ways … if I could just ask them to stop causing me stress … it will go away.” Not really. The unintended consequences always have a price to pay and you better be prepared to pay if one chooses to charge ahead.
This can, at least in me, cause a feeling of being tired of being on the “High Road” all the time. Feeling like that robs us of the peace showing kindness is really all about.
Instead of feeling put out and put upon to be on the High Road, maybe if we focus on holding back even the right words at all the wrong times, we are showing kindness. Even to someone who isn’t being kind to us.
And have faith that if it becomes necessary to say those right words, the right moment will happen. In the end by not saying the right words at the wrong time is also a kindness to yourself. Don’t add to the stress you’re under with a cost that may be too high to pay. Don’t rob yourself of the good being kind can do for that other person or yourself.
Interestingly I’ve had a few chances this week to choose not to address a stress–before we discussed it in class. I’m glad I was listening and paying attention. This does not mean I am avoiding it or letting it fester. Making a conscious choice is weighing all the options and addressing it.
This also doesn’t mean I won’t “talk it out” because I believe quite integral in a woman’s nature is the need to process by talking (or maybe blogging). To be able to say all the “right things to address a wrong” to a trusted* objective, patient and non-judgemental–and kind–ear has a purpose and can help one to focus on the good of showing kindness and avoid making rash decisions and therefore suffering even greater consequences. This process for women is natural. Yes, some can become champions of feeding a festering wound, especially if their chosen listener is an equally toxic person or if their listener isn’t really listening. And yes, some can use a social media outlet as a place to toxicly dump thinking they are safe from consequences (or if they are really dumping like that they probably could care less about consequences and personal responsibility). For the rest, though, most of us are just trying to process and can come to reasonable solutions on our own.
*Trusted is a key word–you have to be able to trust that what is said does not go beyond the speaker and listener or it defeats the purpose.
I think this is a good follow-up to Be a Friend. Go out there and Be Kind.