Saturday, November 27, 2010

Badgering with Kindness ~

Want to have a wonderful day? Try badgering everyone you meet with kindness and compassion! Yes, that is a different way of looking at our choices and attitudes, but why don't you try it and see if it works?
We all know that a badger, using his sharp claws and strong teeth, digs through the earth to capture unsuspecting prey, such as beetles, worms, small rodents, and even hedgehogs and rabbits. He has few natural enemies, but fights when humans put him in a pit with a dog. This kind of fighting is referred to as badger-baiting. And even though the badger fights ferociously, the dog kills him in the end. Lawyers even use it in court, saying his opponent is "badgering the witness." But animals are never cruel. They may be agressive, vicious, brutal, and even deadly, but they are not guilty of being cruel. Cruelty is exclusive to human beings. And it is usually hidden behind sarcastic remarks.

You may consider the clerk in the store slow and inefficient, so you raise your voice to let him know how you feel. You may realize that your friend is feeling insecure about the way she looks, so you say something witty to let her know you are aware of her insecurity, and think she's just being silly. Or you rise above the person who knows little about the Bible and show your own self-righteousness. These are all scenes of human cruelty--and there are endless more--showing just how cruel we humans can be. The badger fights for its life. Why are you fighting? 

We like to believe that we live in a Christian nation. So how did we go so far astray from kindness? The message of kindness is: "Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience." And "add to your faith...brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love." 

Paul told the Galatians, "The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control." These godly traits mirror God's own kindness to us.

Remember the picture of the children of Israel as God's own little children in Hosea, lovingly nourished and tenderly cared for:

It was I who taught Ephraim to walk, 
              taking them by the arms;
but they did not realize
              it was I who healed them.
I led them with cords of human kindness,
              with ties of love;
I lifted the yoke from their neck
               and bent down to feed them.

You too can learn to tie with cords of human kindness rather than the cords that bind. Meanness and malice can't survive where there is compassion. Do you have compassion? Or do you express malice? Jesus never said an unkind word, even though he made scathing rebukes of the religious leaders. But his heart was filled with love, and where there is love, you won't find a mouth filled with hate. 

Think about the way you approach those you want to change or those you're hoping to teach. If there is a mean spirit which flies out of your mouth, the words won't matter because no one will listen.

This is the lesson today from Meeting God in Quiet Places by F. LaGard Smith. I still have around 15,000 words to write on my novel, so that is what I'll be doing today. I haven't written any new words in three days! So say a prayer for me and have a wonderful Saturday!

"Be kind and compassionate to one another."  Ephesians 4:32   

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