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Posts Tagged ‘Kindness’

Therefore I run thus: not with uncertainty. Thus I fight: not as one who beats the air. 1 Corinthians 9:26 (NKJV)

 

Gina Vivinetto[i] remind us to be kind to ourselves and suggests several ways you can be kind to yourself, and feel better:

  1. Change your passwords. Making occasional changes to our routine can be very helpful to get off the doldrums that may set it. As an interesting experience, if you want to build more gratitude into your day, make your password something for which you are thankful.
  2. Do a brain spill. If you tend to stress over unfinished tasks, try keeping a pad of paper next to your bed and to jot down a “brain spill.” As Davis-Laack explains, “Whatever you’re stewing about, put it on paper. This simple strategy relaxes your brain so it can focus on other tasks.”
  3. Treat yourself as well as you treat your BFF. Sometimes we are nicer to others than we are to ourselves. The next time you’re upset or hurting, stop and ask yourself, “What if I had a good friend who was going through a similar situation?” How would you would treat that friend? What emotional tone would you use with that person?  Once you answer, be as soft and gentle and caring with yourself as you would be with your friend.”
  4. Write a sweet letter to yourself. As Kristin Neff, author of Self-Compassion: The Proven Power of Being Kind to Yourself writes, “Research shows if you write a self-compassionate letter to yourself for seven days in a row you reduce your depression for three months and increase happiness for six months.” Save those letters and read them again whenever you are feeling down.
  5. Try a self-compassion break. Neff suggests you give yourself a warm, comfortable hug and repeat these three phrases to yourself: (1) This is a moment of suffering. (2) Suffering is a part of life and (3) May I be kind to myself. As she explains, “Gentle, non-judgmental acknowledgement of our own pain has a calming effect.”

Take care of and be kind to yourself so you can be kind to those around you.

 

Father God, plant your compassion in my heart so that it may sprout out to others and to myself.

[i] http://www.today.com/kindness/gratitude-you-too-11-simple-ways-be-kind-yourself-t52666

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And they spoke to him, saying, “If you are kind to these people, and please them, and speak good words to them, they will be your servants forever.” 2 Chronicles 10:7 (NKJV)

 

We have talked several times about teaching and showing kindness so that your children will imitate you and be kind themselves.  While being kind to others is important, Gina Vivinetto[i] remind us to be kind to ourselves.  As she reminds us, “After all, how well you love yourself sets the tone for how well you’re able to love others.”  She suggests several ways you can be kind to yourself, and feel better:

  1. Enjoy beautiful smells. You don’t need to spend any money, time, effort, or calories to enjoy a lovely scent. At home you can pick up a grapefruit, bury your head in a freshly laundered pile of towels, or smell a bottle of vanilla.  At a store, go to the makeup section and smell the free samples.
  2. Try fur therapy. If you have a furry pet at home, stop for a few minutes, put them on your lap or sit next to them, and run your hands on their fur. Both of you will enjoy the experience.
  3. Give up on moderation. Being kind to yourself also includes taking care of yourself. As you think of your health, are there some things you should do without, or at least should do less of?  While this may sound hard to do and not like a way to be kind to yourself, you will feel better knowing you have taken steps to lower your weight or blood pressure, or simply to feel better.
  4. Set a bedtime alarm. Some of us need to set an alarm to get up in the morning. But if you have trouble turning out the light at night, which makes you drag the next morning, try setting a bedtime alarm.  Set it to a few minutes before you need to or want to be in bed so you have time to unwind and get ready for sleep.  Once the alarm is set, and it goes off, you should turn all electronic devices off.
  5. Start a portfolio of good stuff. Collect any thank you notes, testimonials, e-mails, and any other positive expressions from others. On those days when you may need a little boost, take them out and bask in the joy of being loved and appreciated by others.

 

Father God, I want to be able to love others as I love myself.  Help me to take care of myself physically, emotionally, and spiritually.

[i] http://www.today.com/kindness/gratitude-you-too-11-simple-ways-be-kind-yourself-t52666

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Kind kinder

But love your enemies, do good, and lend, hoping for nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High. For He is kind to the unthankful and evil. Luke 6:35 (NKJV)

Among the most important qualities parents want to instill in their children is kindness.  But according to the Harvard University’s Making Caring Common project[i] said, most of the 10,000 kids they surveyed responded that their parents taught them that personal happiness and high achievement were more important than caring for other people.  As a result of the study, researchers have mapped the five child-rearing techniques you need to raise kind kids:

  1. Give kids opportunities to practice being kind. Kindness is not in inborn quality but a learned skill much like learning to play a musical instrument, writing, or a language. Simple opportunities to practice kindness on a regular basis, such as helping another child with homework, can make a difference.
  2. Children need to learn two important skills which will help them build a wider “circle of concern.” First, kids need to learn to “zoom in” on individuals, and truly listen to them. Second, they also need to be able to “zoom out” to see a bigger picture; that is, learning to put human experience in context.
  3. Kids need role models. You don’t have to be perfect parents. It means that you demonstrate empathy, concern, and sympathy so that children can be exposed to it.
  4. Help children manage destructive feelings. Kids need to know that feelings such as shame, anger, and jealousy are normal, but they need to manage them appropriately. Spark your children’s thinking with ethical questions and issues of injustice so they learn how to weigh their various responsibilities to others and themselves.
  5. Stop passing the buck. Parents need to think about the messages they’re sending their kids, and ask themselves: “what values am I really instilling?”

Father God, you have been patient, loving and kind to me.  Help me to be the same kind of parent to my children and to teach them from my own example to be kind, patient, and loving to others.

[i] http://qz.com/422326/harvard-researchers-have-mapped-the-five-child-rearing-techniques-you-need-to-raise-kind-kids/

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Scripture: (2 Sam 9:8 NKJV)  Then he bowed himself, and said, “What is your servant, that you should look upon such a dead dog as I?”

Observation: As he had promised his friend Jonathan, David was looking to show his love and kindness to a surviving member of the royal family.  The only one left was Jonathan’s son, Mephibosheth, who was lame because in escaping his nursemaid dropped him and his feet were probably broken.  While he was afraid at first, eventually David’s kindness won him over and he ate at the king’s table for the rest of his life.

Application: I have liked this story ever since I first read it, not only because it is a story of brotherly kindness but also because it is an allegory of God’s plan of salvation for us.  I preached a sermon about it and want to share its highlights.  Notice the beautiful parallels:

1. Mephibosheth was lame on his feet. vs.3
2 Sam. 4:4 describes how he became lame in both feet.  In Jewish minds, any kind of disease or deformity was the direct result of that person’s sin, so Mephibosheth’s crippling state was viewed as happening as a result of his sin.  When you think of it, Sin has crippled us.  To me it is amazing to think that while everything in the royal palace must have looked nice and neat, King David wanted to bring in a crippled man – symbol of sickness and sin – and all just for the sake of his friend Jonathan.  Maybe that’s what Jesus meant when He said,  (Matthew 9:12 NIV)  “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick.”

2. Dead Dog . . . . vs.8
Let’s pick up the story in 2 Samuel:  6When Mephibosheth son of Jonathan (who was the son of Saul), came before David, he bowed deeply, abasing himself, honoring David. David spoke his name: “Mephibosheth.” “Yes sir?” 7“Don’t be frightened,” said David. “I’d like to do something special for you in memory of your father Jonathan. To begin with, I’m returning to you all the properties of your grandfather Saul. Furthermore, from now on you’ll take all your meals at my table.” 8Shuffling and stammering, not looking him in the eye, Mephibosheth said, “Who am I that you pay attention to a stray dog like me?”
Mephibosheth was obviously more than surprised – he was shocked.  You might say that his self-concept had hit rock bottom.  Just imagine, if all your life you grew up believing that you were crippled because God was punishing you for your sin, how would you feel?  Well, Mephibosheth felt so low, he though of himself as no more than a stray dog, worse yet, a dead dog.  The grandson of a mad, sinful, egotistical king who had tried to kill David before.  A crippled man in a society that considered him an outcast.

3. His Name
Even his name tells us something of who or what he was.  In fact, he had two names.  1 Chronicles 8:44 tells us his name was Merib-baal. – which means “Baal is my lawyer.”  Baal was the pagan god of the Canaanites.  His name declared that Baal, the pagan god, was his attorney.  His name was so embarrassing to him that it was changed to Mephibosheth (2 Samuel 9:6), which means shame.

4. Where he lived.
If that were not enough, even where he lived was bad.  The story tells us that he lived in a place called Lo-Debar (vs.4).  In the Hebrew language, Lo means No, and Debar means nothing.  Lo-Debar, literally means No-Nothing, and what it really is and it describes is a place that is worse than nothing.  The prophet Amos wrote of this place:  (Amos 6:13 NKJV)  “You who rejoice over Lo Debar, Who say, “Have we not taken Karnaim for ourselves By our own strength?”” The Living Bible renders this text:  (Amos 6:13 TLB)  “And just as stupid is your rejoicing in how great you are when you are less than nothing–and priding yourselves on your own tiny power!”
You see what this passage is saying?  Lo-Debar was not only nothing, but less or worse than nothing.  Isn’t that a fair description of our world today?  The more we think we’re making it better, the worse it seems to get!  The more we try to fix it with technological advances, the more we ruin it.
This man’s condition is worthy of the intensive care unit in God’s hospital. . . . He was lost, he was crippled by sin, he had no social status, because an ex-royalty is no royalty at all, he had a shameful name, descriptive of his situation, and he was living in a place that was worse than nothing.  And yet, it was to him – lost, crippled, sick, shameful Mephibosheth from Lo-Debar, that David, the King, wanted to show kindness.  In fact, what exactly did David want him to enjoy?

5. Return of his father’s land – vs.7
“Don’t be frightened,” said David. “I’d like to do something special for you in memory of your father Jonathan. To begin with, I’m returning to you all the properties of your grandfather Saul.

Genesis 1:28 and 2:15 tell us that the Lord put man in the Garden of Eden to tend it, to care for it, to be his home, but we also know that when Adam chose to disobey God he lost what God had given him.  Later, God promised Abraham that he would inherit the promised land and through him the promise has been passed to the remnant of all the ages.  Jesus Himself confirmed that promise,  (Matthew 5:5 NKJV)  “Blessed are the meek, For they shall inherit the earth.”  Paradise, given to Adam and his descendants, was lost at the Fall, but will be returned to them at the establishment of God’s eternal kingdom on earth.

6. Eat at the King’s Table Continually. v.7.
Furthermore, from now on you’ll take all your meals at my table.”

King David, a type of Christ, didn’t see in Mephibosheth a crippled, outcast person, a person living in a dump and with a name that was not worth repeating.  He saw a child of THE KING – one who deserved, not of his own merit, but because of a promise to his father, to be treated like royalty.
Think of it – WE ARE THAT MEPHIBOSHETH!  Living in this filthy planet – filthy because we have made it so.  A planet that has gone so bad that one day the Lord will have to clean it completely with fire so that no trace of what we now know and see of it will remain.
We are that Mephibosheth!  Crippled by sin so that, as Paul would declare with frustration,  (Romans 7:15 TLB)  “I don’t understand myself at all, for I really want to do what is right, but I can’t. I do what I don’t want to–what I hate.”
We are that Mephibosheth!  with a shameful name.  Jesus said that every time we lie, Satan becomes our “prosecuting Attorney.”  But it’s not what we are, but what he sees in us, and what we can become in Jesus, that concerns Him.  And to us, He promises that He will come back for us so that we may live in His House (John 14:1-3), that we will inherit the earth – purified and made new – restored so that it’s as good as new, like it was when God created and gave it to Adam and Eve (Revelation 21:1-4), that we become children of God, not slaves and outcasts (Galatians 4:7), that we receive a new name (Revelation 2:17)
Now, I want you to think about this.  Mephibosheth could have refused.  And in the same way, God doesn’t force us to accept His free gifts for us.  In fact, today, many refuse, reject God’s free gifts.  Maybe they feel they’re not worthy.  Maybe they feel they have sinned too much, too often, in too many ways.  Maybe they feel they’ve gone too far for God’s grace to reach them.  Read these words:  “There are those who have known the pardoning love of Christ and who really desire to be children of God, yet they realize that their character is imperfect, their life faulty, and they are ready to doubt whether their hearts have been renewed by the Holy Spirit. To such I would say, Do not draw back in despair. We shall often have to bow down and weep at the feet of Jesus because of our shortcomings and mistakes, but we are not to be discouraged. Even if we are overcome by the enemy, we are not cast off, not forsaken and rejected of God. No; Christ is at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us. Said the beloved John, ‘These things write I unto you, that you sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.’ 1 John 2:1. And do not forget the words of Christ, “The Father Himself loves you.” John 16:27. He desires to restore you to Himself, to see His own purity and holiness reflected in you. And if you will but yield yourself to Him, He that has begun a good work in you will carry it forward to the day of Jesus Christ. Pray more fervently; believe more fully. As we come to distrust our own power, let us trust the power of our Redeemer, and we shall praise Him who is the health of our countenance.” {Ellen G. White, Steps to Christ, p. 64}

Prayer: Father, thank You for Your plan to save us, as sinful and wicked as we may be.  We accept Your grace and forgiveness, and by faith we claim Your gift of salvation and our new status as sons and daughters of the King of the universe.

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