We spent time in 1Cr13--in the passages where Love is described... Love is patient. Love is kind. Love is not envious or boastful...
And our pastor spoke about what it looks like to be patient, what it means to be kind, or not envious etc...
But one thing struck me, as an aside really, and it revolved around "love IS," or to be more specific it revolved about what it meant to BE kind, to BE patient, etc.
See there's a difference between being kind and acting kind. When you look up kind in the dictionary it is defined as a good and benevolent nature. It means the very essence of what someone is is good and benevolent.
Sometimes as Christians we pat ourselves on the back when we exhibit self-control. What I mean is that we see someone or are put in a situation where we can be rude, impatient, judgmental, etc... And on the inside we are thinking so many things: little insults or wise cracks, inside we're boiling with impatience, inside we're furious. But we rein it all in, and then congratulate ourselves for BEING so Kind.
When in fact, people who ARE kind, whose natures are truly kind, whose natures are truly patient, aren't thinking of wisecracks and insults. They aren't actually frustrated but holding it in.
They really are waiting patiently. They really only have soft and kind thoughts about people. They are gracious.
Don't get me wrong, it is a tremendous feat to hold one's tongue and to exhibit self-control, but that's only the first step. We've got to pray for a transformation of our nature. We need God to help transform us into GENUINELY kind and patient persons.
Because otherwise we are just ACTING kind and ACTING patiently. We ARE not genuinely that way.
See Jesus clarified the law for us in Matthew 5. He went further than simply condemning acting upon our sinful nature, but he went so far as to condemn even our sinful thoughts. Jesus realized that our thoughts reveal a lot about our natures.
I have the perfect example of living kindness in my husband--a man who is truly kind.
A number of years back while we were in marriage counseling, we did an exercise. It took us hours, but we sat down and dug into our natures. We searched for who we are at our cores. To better understand each other, it was important to try to pin down that one quality that permeates almost every action and thought.
Mine was Passion.
Lee's was Kindness.
At the very core of who Lee IS is kind. It explains why he only sees the good in people, to the point of it harming him in relationships and friendships. It explains why he's hurt when people take advantage of his niceness. He has often spoken to me about how people in his life have mistaken his kindness for weakness. And after yesterday's sermon, it explains why he would say this,
I mean the sermon today was all common sense...Just be genuine!Of course being genuine to him would mean being patient and kind--it's who he genuinely is! But that is not the case for most of us, especially me.
I know that I'm not as naturally kind as my husband, but I pray to God to transform me into a kinder and more loving person.