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Kinder Than Necessary
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I hadn’t even had a chance to say hello and she exploded at me. She said unkind words that weren’t true. It hurt. I wanted to say something back that would put her in her place. I wanted to walk away and never come back. But there was pain in her eyes, and I saw it as I was about to turn away. She was hurting, too. She lashed out because of her own pain, not because of me. She needed someone to care enough to see past her unkindness and love her anyway.

The last thing I wanted to do right then was be any kinder or caring than I had to be. I wanted her to apologize. I wanted her to recognize that she hurt me. But instead, I knew I needed to give her a hug. That hug was a moment of break-through—for both of us. It broke down the wall of tension and her anger melted away.

Life had thrown an unexpected curve ball, and she had been afraid that I would cut her off just like everyone else had. Instead of putting her in her proper place, God gave me the beautiful opportunity to love her, and to pray for her. Instead of adding wounds to an already weary heart, God let me be the means of bringing a little hope. I was ashamed that I’d considered walking away.

New Kind of Lenses

Every single day, we bump shoulders with a hurting world. We’re all good at putting on masks, and we’re all quick to take things at face value. I’ve been convicted more and more lately that I need to look at my colleagues, friends and the grumpy lady at the grocery store through a new kind of lenses—the lenses of God’s love. I need to make it a point to not just be kind enough, but kinder than necessary. I need to remember that while I can only see what’s on the outside, God knows what’s on the inside. Those ugly words or sour expressions may be the cover pulled over a face that is afraid, worn out and hurting from some sort of personal battle that I don’t have a clue about.

We talk about love, but in the heat of the moment, it is all too easy to forget that love is a gift from God. Sometimes we forget that love is most important when it is most uncomfortable. I know I do.

God is asking me to add another motto to my life: “Be kinder than necessary because everyone you meet is fighting some kind of battle” ― J.M. Barrie

It isn’t about who deserves kindness the most. It’s about letting God use kindness to share love with those who need it the most. The Bible says, “And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you” (Ephesians 4:32).

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By Chantel Brankshire. Copyright © 2013 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines. Scripture taken from the NEW KING JAMES VERSION © 1982.

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