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.

From the Desk of David Jeremiah

I received this email from Dr. David Jeremiah this morning and wanted to share it with you. May it bless you, encourage you, and strengthen your heart and spirit as it did me. ~Michele

Dear Michele,

There is no question, we are living in a time of unprecedented uncertainty—it is unlike anything I have experienced in my lifetime.

My prayer is that you are healthy, in a safe place, and surrounded by those you love. Many people around the globe are struggling with illness, loss of employment, or are experiencing lonely isolation—we need to keep them in prayer.

The temptation in times like these is to allow fear and worry to creep into our thoughts and to rob us of our joy. But in this uncertain world filled with many unknowns, we need to remember what we do know:

  • God is still in control.
  • He is on the throne.
  • He is not surprised by the events in our world today!
  • He is sovereign—nothing happens without His permission.
  • He is the same yesterday, today, and forever.

You are loved by God and nothing can separate you from His love. You may feel isolated, but God is near to you through the working of the Holy Spirit. God is ready, right now, to communicate to you through prayer and His Word. You are His child and the Father is ever-present to give you comfort, guidance, and perfect peace.

He is the Great Physician, Jehovah-Rapha, the One who heals. Though sickness surrounds us, God’s power and protection goes before you. Nothing is impossible for God. No force is insurmountable for Him to conquer, and no evil is too diabolical for Him to vanquish.

His Word remains a lamp unto your feet and a light unto your path. Your prayers are heard by the great I AM—the light of the world—the Good Shepherd. He delights in His children and longs to give you the desires of your heart.

He is the rock of your salvation. Your mighty fortress. Your strength. Your help. Your hiding place. Your shield.

And because you are a child of God, you can confidently rest in His providence and protection during this time of turmoil. God is our certainty in uncertain times.

I am praying for you. Please keep the ministry of Turning Point in your prayers, as well. We will continue to bring the healing power of God’s Word to you each day on radiotelevision, and online. I hope this will be a source of encouragement to you during the current coronavirus pandemic.

God is in control,

David Jeremiah