God's Roadmap

Now may the Lord Jesus Christ and our Father God, who loved us and in his wonderful grace gave us eternal comfort and a beautiful hope that cannot fail, encourage your hearts and inspire you with strength to always do and speak what is good and beautiful in his eyes (2 Thessalonians 2:16-17 TPT).


Friday, January 14, 2022

When Kindness Counts




This week's post is written by Miya Hunter-Willis. Miya and I met through the Flourish Writers Community. We can learn a lot about how far kindness can go and what an example we can be as Titus 2 women to anyone we meet through this touching story she shares. 

Roman philosopher Lucius Anneas Seneca once said, “Wherever there is a human being, there is an opportunity for kindness.”  Well, my journey toward being kinder started with a dog.  That’s right, a dog! One day, a bristly-haired terrier found her way to my yard, tempted by the scent of white-tailed deer and cottontails.  Moments later, my doorbell rang.  

 “Thank goodness you are home,” the old woman managed between gasps for air.  The first thing I noticed was the fabulous, full-length fur coat, a magnificent, oversized garment that seemed to swallow her entire body.  A forest green, cloche hat covered a thin layer of white pin curls, a simple choice of hairstyle that spoke more to familiarity than to frugality.  “Could you help me get my dog?” she asked.

 Not wanting to be rude, I obliged.  Her name was Ms. Alice.  The 85-year-old moved in with her daughter just months prior to the pandemic.  Her dog, Lucy, was a gift, a rescue dog meant to be a companion in her older age.  After coaxing Lucy back into her leash, I decided to walk them home, assuming Ms. Alice could use the help.  Little did I know, our conversation would be the mood lifter I desperately needed.

 We shared pieces of our life, noticeably slowing down as we inched closer to her house.  “They think I can’t take care of myself,” she confided as if we were sharing a secret between sisters. 

Ms. Alice was a comedian in a former life--that is to say, she made one appearance on stage.  “They always said I was loquacious...not funny!” she joked.  I chuckled, appreciating her dry sense of humor.  She even shared wisdom having been a stay-at-home mother like me. What should have been a 5-minute walk stretched into a 45-minute stroll!

 I assumed Ms. Alice was the one in need of kindness when in fact I was too!  My Grandma Ophelia died in June and for months, I grieved her passing.  The pandemic made my absence from other family gatherings socially acceptable and no one knew how much I was hurting.  

Talking to Ms. Alice softened the sting of sadness; her conversation reminded me of happier times with my grandmother.  In those moments, our 45-year age difference didn’t matter.  We were two women giving each other what we both needed: kindness.

Although our encounter was brief, meeting Ms. Alice and Lucy reminded me of our responsibility to be kind to one another.  Kindness means to operate in such a way that respects the needs of others without the expectation of reciprocity.  As Christians, it’s one of our core values. 

Yet, how often do we go without showing kindness at work, at home, at school, and dare I say even at church?  The pandemic exposed a lot about God’s people, but it also gave us an opportunity to rise to the occasion.  Talking with Ms. Alice proved to me that kindness is still needed, and a little bit can go a long way. 

 Here are three things I learned to improve my kindness quotient:

 1. Be available:  In Galatians 6:10, Paul suggests “as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people.”  When you are kind, it tells God that you’re willing to prioritize what is important to Him.  I challenge you to say “yes” to being kind.

2Be realistic about your expectations:  Being kind doesn’t necessarily mean overextending yourself.  Many Christians suffer needlessly trying to be everything for everyone when God will supply everything we need (Philippians 4:19).  Being kind shouldn’t be a burden; however, it might move you out of your comfort zone to let the light and love of Christ reach a bit farther. 

             3. Be willing to be identified with Christ:  In John 13:34,35, Jesus commands us to love one another and “[b]y this all will know that you are My disciples.” Being kind is the byproduct of behavior consistent with Jesus’ example; it’s evidence of who we serve.  Being kind isn’t just what we do, it’s who we are! 

  A few months later, my family moved to another state. I’ll probably never see Ms. Alice or her dog Lucy ever again.  However, the kindness we shared remains a bright spot in my memory. 

In closing, we all have chances to be kind.  Think about the young parent in your congregation who is struggling, the co-worker who seems overwhelmed, or the elderly neighbor needing a listening ear.  

How can you be available, realistic, and identified with Jesus by being kind?  Whenever I see people walking their dogs in my new neighborhood, I’m reminded of the day a dog prompted me to be kinder.  Let’s go out of our way to choose kindness; I promise you won’t be disappointed!

Please join the conversation and share your thoughts about what kindness means to you.

Kindness means to operate in such a way that respects the needs of others without the expectation of reciprocity.  As Christians, it’s one of our core values. (click to tweet)

 

Miya Hunter-Willis is a former history teacher turned newbie writer.  As a wife and stay-at-home mother to four children, Miya finds humor in daily life and translates these foibles into her writing. 

 Over the past 13 years, Miya served in several ministerial capacities including Director of Small Groups, Bible Study Teacher, and armor bearer to the First Lady of New Life Fellowship International Ministries.

 Recently, Miya contributed to Chicken Soup for the Soul’s The Blessings of Christmas released in October 2021.  She’s part of the Flourish Writers Academy community where she’s working on a book tentatively entitled A Moment of Hope: Raising Teenage Sons.  

Links to Chicken Soup for the Soul book:

https://www.facebook.com/ChickenSoupfortheSoul

https://www.instagram.com/chickensoupsoul

https://twitter.com/ChickenSoupSoul

 


8 comments:

  1. Such a sweet and inspiring post. I felt I was walking alongside you and Ms. Alice during your stroll. Great writing. Thank you for this gentle reminder to always extend kindness to others. My adopted mama used to remind us, "Be kind when you meet others because you never know what they've been going through before meeting you." Thank you ladies; and God's blessings. Ms. Miya; I'm gonna need an explanation of "armor bearer for the first lady"?? :-)

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    1. Your mama was wise in giving you that advice, J.D. Thanks for sharing something we all need to remember. We never know what someone else has gone through. Blessings!

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  2. I loved your story, Miya. Thank you, Barbara, for sharing. Kindness, as one of the Fruits of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22) is always an opportunity available for us. At home, with our neighbors, on the job, our casual interactions, driving, shopping, social media...the opportunities for us to be kind are endless. Thank you for this encouraging message to remind us to be kind.

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    1. Thanks for sharing, Katherine. Your acts of kindness are so evident to me through the experiences you share online and you are a person who exhibits this fruit of the Spirit. Blessings!

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  3. A beautiful story! I'm trying to recall a saying I like -- something like "If you need a lift, give someone else a hand." It's true; it works for me time and time again. Love is kind.
    Candyce

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    1. Candi, I love that saying and it is good advice we can all use. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. Blessings!

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  4. Miya, what a beautiful story filled with reminders for all of us. I'm thankful your heart was sensitive to the dear lady you met and to God's whispering this post to you. I love the definition of kindness you shared at the end and the fact that seeing dogs reminds you of God's truths. Thank you for a delightful read with sound lessons.

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    1. Jeannie, I love Miya's story as it shows us how far just a little kindness can go. The help she gave to Ms. Alice was worth gold to that sweet lady. We can all learn from her example. Thanks for sharing. Blessings!

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