Kindness.This word is loaded. It is something we learn about from a very young age. We all know we should be. We all tell our children to be. We all want others to be kind to us. But do we actually practice kindness as a way of life? Are we known for generally being kind to our families? Do we treat our families with less kindness than we show strangers?
You know, ladies, Kindness begins in the home and we women set the pace and atmosphere for this. We have the power to turn a good day, bad as well as turn a bad day, good.
We never know what someone is going through or why they might be the way they are. While we should not encourage poor behavior we can certainly show kindness, compassion, mercy and love. Be kind, give a smile and perhaps some kind encouraging words. You never know how those things will affect another person. Be the light in another’s darkness.Don’t assume anything or automatically take something personal. We certainly appreciate those moments when kindness and grace are extended to us. Some examples worth considering for our family, others and even be willing to recognize that we fall under these kinds of things at least from time to time, appreciating when these are extended to us.
• That woman you saw who looks like she is falling apart and miserable- perhaps her husband just died, maybe her child is suffering or perhaps she is just having a bad day.
• That child screaming and is giving everyone a headache- maybe they have special needs and they just can’t control their emotions or voice, maybe their relatives are cruel so they act out, maybe they are bullied in school, perhaps they have never been taught how to control themselves.
• That grumpy, kinda mean elderly man or woman- maybe their body hurts as they get older, maybe they are lonely because their husband/wife is no longer here, maybe their kids ignore them due to being too wrapped up in their own lives.
• The snotty cashier- maybe one of their kids are sick, an elderly parent who now has to be moved to an assisted living facility, maybe they are having marital problems, have a kid who is addicted to drugs or alcohol.
• The person who cut you off driving- maybe they were distracted because they are in a crises, maybe they just had a fight with their child or spouse and they just are not paying attention properly, overwhelmed from a crushing job that just takes advantage of them, financial problems, an unexpected anything just popped up
I would like to think that most of us women wake up wanting to be cheerful and tenderhearted towards others. We want to show kindness to our family. It feels good when we have days when we are pretty satisfied with our efforts. On the days when there is overwhelm it can wind up making us want to hide and cry. Everything and everyone gets on our nerves, someone looks at us sideways, we get spoken to in a tone we don’t like, our husband does something that we let sour our mood, maybe our children just aren’t listening very well that day. How do we respond compared to how we should? I dare say, sometimes we do not do very well in that department.
Most things that set us off are not things done with maliciousness or on purpose to make our day worse. People can annoy us or we just need some moments to collect ourselves letting our minds reset and refocus. Sometimes there are misunderstandings, an attitude or tone and yet they had nothing to do with us but boy do we react like they were.
Some of us naturally have personalities that make living out the principles within Titus 2 and Proverbs 31 examples a little or a lot easier. Kindness is a recurring theme and connected to so many other aspects of life. (Like many other things). We do not have to have it all figured out quickly. Unrealistic expectations we can place on ourselves and others place on us are not how it should be and is unfair. Growth happens all the time. The point is to get ever closer to the character of our Creator and Messiah. Burn out city is a common theme in many of our lives before we figure out how to stop and ban the unnecessary busy and get through the busy seasons easier with hopefully good support.
Some situations we just cannot get out from under whether they are a chronic illness, special needs children or any number of life’s challenges we have to navigate that is out of our control. People in these situations need compassion and support more than a lecturing of “be happy” or whatever else gets said in those moments that are not helpful. Compassion, kindness and understanding go a long way.
We all know those kind of women who their children and husbands hide from, especially when mom is in one of her moods. Avoiding her is the best thing to do because they just don’t know if or when they will receive her wrath. And yet, we all know the other kind of women who are the complete opposite, sure, they have their moments too but they are generally known for staying sweet, gentle and kind. That is the woman I strive to be. The kind where even when I am having a bad day, that is what is thought of about me. I don’t always achieve that but I strive more than ever to do that now. Just because I am hormonal, sore, not feeling well, someone hurt my feelings, I keep making mistakes or just feel super busy, that doesn’t mean I get to treat everyone according to my mood. We should never let that dictate how we behave. Admittedly, some days are harder than others.
Do we go around our home demanding kindness and respect from others and yet we do not show it back? Do we tell our children and maybe even our husband to stop yelling at us while we are yelling at them? Do we go around our home complaining that no one helps out, listens to us or treats us the way we feel we should be treated while we are doing the very same things to them? Are we making it easier or harder for others to be kind to us? Do we take a moment and remember that none of us, generally, want to be unkind. We all have our moments and say or do things we regret or are less than proud of.
Are we remembering that we are trying as families to better our lives together? Remembering that children are just that, children, and they will, without a doubt do and say some things that are undesirable? Do we remember that we all have things to deal with throughout the day that just makes us feel bad or worn out? We can help our families cope with those moments far easier when we are kind in return. The goal is to grow together and we can achieve that by slowing down, watching our tone, watching our words and our behavior. Over time, it can get easier and easier and the odds are that it will start to be seen also in your family members if it isn’t already. These are the moments that we can influence.
Some days we get overwhelmed, that happens. How do we react to that? We can get crabby or we can strive to just show kindness. Just like when our husbands come home after a long day at work and it was just a bad day, don’t we want him to still treat us with kindness and not take it out on us? Same principle. We will not always achieve that, it is unrealistic to have that expectation on ourselves. Putting in the effort and making sure kindness is our general character probably will get easier. When you don’t do so well, ask for the others to forgive you then give yourself grace too. Growth develops over time.
Our feelings could absolutely be valid (sometimes we are having a bad attitude and it is us who are wrong). It is quite hard at times to behave kindly when we feel neglected, taken advantage of, given an attitude or any number of other things we can deal with. These are the moments to exercise the fruit of the Spirit (which are not suggestions) and strive to be more Yeshua like. It is easy to know how we should be academically. Living them out can be harder.
How do we react to situations? How do we serve our families? How do we talk about them, especially in front of them?
Is it really loving to demand to be left alone all the time? Women are not the only ones tired and busy. Many kids are run ragged with far too many activities, running around and demands put on them. Husbands come home tired from work too and how many of them have wives who are a drip and nag the moment they come home and often do not stop. Nothing they do is ever right. The wives redo things they do to “help” or get upset because they did not do it to their liking. Men have taken on more and more of the tasks that women said they wanted them to do and yet it still is not enough sometimes. I realize that sometimes it is the other way around as well. It goes both ways and is not good either.
Loving our families includes so many things. It isn’t just about saying we love them. Most of us certainly do. Our actions, tones, demeanors and our facial expressions are where this matters most. We know how it feels when someone tells us they love us but are mean, obnoxious ,roll their eyes at what we say, tell us to leave them alone… you know, all the things we can do to others at times and justify.
Yah is waiting to forgive our trespasses so let’s be ready to do the same for our families. Yes, sometimes it can be hard and things can hurt deeply. That is where lots of prayer and Bible study comes in to help us. Sometimes another’s’ help is needed. Of course we should not enable or put up with certain things, however the fruit of the Spirit are not suggestions. If you are struggling, I understand how hard it can be and the process that happens as grow. Yah is waiting to heal the broken hearted and struggling. Go to Him!
A woman of Yah can live out His fruit and not be fake nor burying head in the sand to sin, behavior and problems we ought not to be. We are valuable, He sees all and it matters, you matter. Put on His armor from Ephesians 6 and walk out the fruit of the Spirit.
Kindness begins at home, then extended to the house of Yah and everyone else. It absolutely matters how we treat other people. Kindness is the law of her tongue in Proverbs 31. There are many verses to research that reference the tongue, lips, pride, being angry, being foolish, hasty speech and the like to see the importance of being careful. There is a reason that we are encouraged to be swift to hear and slow to speak while also keeping in mind that a soft answer turns away wrath. There is much wisdom in keeping those guiding words in mind. Ecclesiastes does speak of a time for everything which means discernment to be sharp, harsh and strong is needed. Our words can cause a lot of destruction. Being nasty, rude and snotty to someone you feel the need to unleash on to put them in their place is not of Yah or wise. It is wise to consider what we say and how. Displaying the fruit of the Spirit is the way to live it out. Hastiness in speech and actions are not wise. Demanding people to be at a particular standard for growth can do more harm than good, even when good intent is there. We are not the ones that open eyes, works with a person, heals them or changes their heart and sometimes people can forget that. May that not be us. Imagine how it would have affected or would affect us if we were demanded to be at a place that we were or are not ready for yet. Only Yah knows when that is, not a fallible person. In His perfect timing He does the work. We can inadvertently hinder that in another.
Hastiness to be harsh or sharp can add to or even create contention, debate, strife, hatred, pride and more which are works of the flesh. Doing our best to avoid them is wise. We should be striving to display the fruit of the Spirit. Discernment is highly needed before jumping into setting someone straight or correcting. I can think of many times and situations that I needed lots of patience, understanding, grace, mercy and etc so I strive to be ready to extend them as well. Remember the standards we apply to others will be applied to us. We will be held accountable. We ought to place realistic and just standards on everyone else and ourselves. Jumping right to the times that Yeshua was not gentle should not be our go to for everything and every situation. We do not like it when it is done to us when we ask a question, are displaying less than desirable behavior or are misguided on something and it is wise to keep in mind how we would like to be treated. Striving to live peaceably with all to the degree that we are able and being peacemakers are part of the fruit of peace. We would be wise to keep that in the back of our mind.
In our arrogance, pride, or even zeal with good intentions to share things, we can unintentionally drive someone away from the Father and Yeshua. Not closer to them. Further. Be careful not to put out a smoldering fire within another. Without love, we are nothing. Loving our neighbor as ourself is extremely important. We can be loving and kind without enabling or tolerating what we should not. Sometimes drastic measures and words do need to be taken or said. It matters how we handle. Growing in discernment and wisdom are what we need to do to learn the differences.
We will have bad days that are hard. We will sin. We will fall short. We will have days we are ashamed of our behavior. We are not failures. When these times happen avoid the tendency to wallow in pity and stay in a state where all you feel is you can’t do anything right. Please do not make the same mistake I did in trying to fix all of you at once. That is a disaster waiting to happen. I am referring to the character traits that are good to improve on. Sometimes honing in on good traits and developing them is desirable. I am not referring to the essence of ourselves that others may want us to change that we do not need to. Work on smaller amounts then move on while continuing to grow. Repent when need to, apologize if necessary, dust yourself off and keep moving forward. Steps backwards will probably happen and they do not make you as a person, a failure. We needed our Savior because only through Him can we do all things and have hope in eternal life.
Getting ourselves into His word daily and being in a constant prayerful state of mind helps bring peace to our minds to live more like Yah intended. Drink in His word. Wash ourselves with It. We can do all things through Yeshua Who strengthens us.
Our children will be blessed by seeing these things in us. Our examples are powerful. They can learn that when you do mess up, to go to Him, repent and keep trying. If they see you keeping Yah at arms length because of shame or feeling like you just will never measure up, that is exactly what they will learn to do. Oh please no, let’s strive to make it easier for us to be close to Yah and help set our children up to be able to truly walk with Him when it is their time to commit to this Way in a bigger way. We would not want to break our children’s spirit so why break anyone else’s? If we wouldn’t want our family treated a certain way by others that is a good indicator not to do it to anyone, including them.
We should be treating everyone the way we would like to be treated. It is easier to love and show love when we are striving to do this. Albeit it is harder at times than others. When it is harder, look Above and work at walking together in Yah’s love. We won’t always hit that mark but we can try. Who knows, maybe our conduct will encourage the very things we were hoping for in our families too. Not from a selfish giving to get but just natural progression of the whole unit walking in love emulating our Father and His Son.
Isn’t that the goal after all? This is our Kingdom work first and foremost. Working in these areas first helps the rest of our lives as well. Yah keeps His word how He will respond to us and what He will do for us when we walk in His ways. Shouldn’t we be striving to do the same in our own family, not forever changing based on our moods and feelings? We can’t control others but we can control ourselves. This can bless them and you! Be that light set on a hill and the salt of the earth. Keep leaning on Yah and talk to Him often in prayer. May He guide our steps and in turn bring glory to Him!
What are we building up or tearing down? Proverbs 14:1 –> “A wise woman builds her home, but a foolish woman tears it down with her own hands.” A wise woman shows kindness and love to her husband and children. A foolish one is unkind and tromps around making everyone else including herself miserable and that is not loving them, even when we feel justified. We don’t like being on the receiving end of someone being unkind even when we did something to them. Don’t we want kindness and be shown love when we are being less than lovable ourselves? Everything, absolutely everything begins and matters most in the home and we set the pace. Let’s build it up.