Kindness Is …

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Noah reads to Allie in a scene from Nicholas Sparks’ “The Notebook.” 


The fruit of the Spirit is … kindness. –Galatians 5:22 NIV

Be kind to one another. –Ephesians 4:32 NIV

“We must be active and earnest in kindness, not merely passive and inoffensive.” – Joy and Strength (p. 7)

In a scene in the movie The Notebook, Allie, who is in the later stages of Alzheimer’s disease, and Noah, whom she no longer remembers as her husband, are chatting in the extended care facility in which they now reside.

Noah recites a quote from a poem they once shared.

“That’s beautiful,” Allie says. “Did you write it?”

Noah smiles softly and answers, “No. Walt Whitman did.”

Allie looks puzzled for a few seconds then says thoughtfully, “Walt Whitman. I think I knew him.”

Noah smiles. “I think you did.”

Now, if that were me, I probably would have launched into a mini-literature lesson. The teacher in me—or the parent—or the perfectionist—just can’t squelch the urge to correct mistakes, to set the record straight.

But Noah doesn’t correct Allie. Setting the record straight isn’t important. Saving her from embarrassment and pain is. Throughout the movie, when Allie asks questions, Noah purposely gives evasive answers.

“On days like these, when her memory is gone, I am vague in my answers because I’ve hurt my wife unintentionally with careless slips of my tongue,” he explains, “and I’m determined not to let it happen again.”

I’ve done that—hurt other people unintentionally with words and deeds that I thought were helpful. It’s not kind, for example, to correct all the typos and errors I see in the church bulletin. Even if no one else sees me scribbling away.

It’s not kind to interrupt my husband’s story because he got a couple of details wrong.

It’s not kind to put my children down in front of others, remind them of past mistakes, make fun of their faults, or make them the butt of a joke.

Kindness is being sensitive to someone’s feelings. It’s helping another person to save face, couching the truth in cushions of love.

Kindness is finding something nice to say about your wife’s appearance when the dress she’s wearing does make her look fat.

Kindness is praising your husband’s attempts at cooking supper and ignoring the overdone meat, the grease splattered three feet in every direction from the stove, and the kitchen that now looks like a disaster area.

Kindness is telling your daughter the floor needed mopped anyway when she puts dishwashing liquid in the dishwasher instead of dishwasher detergent.

Kindness is not calling your son an idiot after he fills up his gas tank with diesel fuel instead of gasoline.

Kindness is baking cookies for that neighbor who’s meaner than a junkyard dog (Romans 15:7).

Kindness is saying something nice about someone who’s not saying nice things about you (Proverbs 19:11).

Kindness is not judging the snippy receptionist in the doctor’s office (Romans 14:13).

Kindness is encouraging that young mother struggling with busy toddlers in the grocery store (1 Thessalonians 5:11).

Kindness is praying for your daughter’s boyfriend even though you think he’s not good enough for her.

You can argue that Noah’s kindness was born of love. True.

But as I thought about kindness, I realized that kindness and love are intertwined. One cannot be divorced from the other.

Perhaps that’s why the word “fruit” in “the fruit of the Spirit” is singular.

Dear God, show me ways to be kind to others today. Amen.

Read and reflect on the Book of Ruth.

From God, Me, & a Cup of Tea, Vol. 3, © 2019 Michele Huey. All rights reserved.

Hangeth Thou in There


The fruit of the Spirit is . . . patience. –Galatians 5:22 NIV

Do not throw away this confident trust in the Lord, no matter what happens. … Patient endurance is what you need now, so you will continue to do God’s will. Then you will receive all that he has promised. –Hebrews 10:35–36 NLT

“Any time a man takes a stand, there will come a time when he’ll be tested to see how firmly his feet are planted.” –Author unknown

It all began with an email—one of those forwards I usually delete without opening. All my bad luck I can blame on deleting them, because most come with a curse or a guilt trip if I don’t forward it to seven or ten or a hundred friends within seven minutes.

But this one I opened and scanned the contents. Then my eyes stopped. “God, deliver the person reading this right now from debt and debt burdens.”

With a son in college and the escalating cost of living, it was getting harder and harder to keep our heads above water.

The following Sunday (Okay, I forwarded it to seven people, including the person who sent it to me—may the gods of cyberspace be appeased), I noticed in the church bulletin an announcement about a workshop for managing finances. “Get control of your finances. Get out of debt.” I read.

“We’re going,” I told my husband.

After the workshop, we resolved to commit ourselves to getting our finances under control. And we started praying together every morning at 5:30 a.m. before Dean left for work.

At first things seemed to be going smoothly. Two unexpected checks came in that month to help the income meet the outgo. We came up with numerous, creative ways to tighten our belts, streamline and simplify.

Then our son’s car—the one Dean worked on all summer and into which we’d poured hundreds of dollars—broke down. It was like a giant hand was pushing us back under water. For two weeks, Dean tinkered with it, trying to figure out what the problem was. Then he turned it over to an engine repair shop that still couldn’t find the problem after two weeks.

We asked ourselves, “What’s this going to cost?”

My freelance income had all but dried up.

The more I prayed, the more I heard God telling me, over and over and over: Be still. Wait. Be patient.

Waiting is not one of my strong points, and patience is not a virtue I possess in abundance.

But everywhere I turned there it was: on the screen at church as we sang worship songs, on a bowl on a friend’s coffee table, in my devotional readings—Be still. Wait. Be patient.

My journal pages filled up with Scripture that jumped out at me and insights that pierced my mind like a well-aimed arrow. One morning I wrote: “I want this time to be over quickly, learn the lesson, and move on to better things, out of the hole of debt. But God is doing a greater work in us.

“Our marriage relationship is becoming stronger. We’ve become closer as we discuss things and as we pray together every morning. We try to help each other out of the funk we get in when we focus on the mountain and not on the God who’s bigger than the mountain. We’re seeing more of what we have and less of what we don’t have, what we truly need and what we could do without. And God is strengthening the ‘do-without’ so we don’t miss what we’ve eliminated. He’s showing us where we’re weak and helping us to overcome those weaknesses.

“We’re on the road to a better, stronger, more satisfying marriage; a simple, more satisfying lifestyle, and a closer walk with God as we learn to depend on Him and trust Him more and more.

“This process takes time. I should not rush it. God knows what He’s doing.”

Dear God, help me to hang in there. Remind me that what You have in store for us will be worth the wait. Amen.

Read and reflect on James 1:2–4; 5:7–11.

PLEASE NOTE: This was written in 2008 and included in my latest devotional book, God, Me, & a Cup of Tea, Vol. 3. Our son has since been weaned from the wallet, and DH is retired.

From God, Me, & a Cup of Tea, Vol. 3 © 2019 Michele Huey. All right reserved. Used with permission.