The writers of Encouraging.com are celebrating their fifteen year landmark by making their 365 daily devotional book, God Moments, available as a free digital download! A total of thirty-six GABC writers have faithfully captured “moments of God’s presence” in their lives to encourage your own spiritual journey. You can find God Moments on amazon.com, iTunes, and BarnesandNoble.com.
Football season is here, and I am excited! I have cared more about college football in the last few years than ever before. Why? Because MY team has been in the mix lately.
“You’re so nice.”
“That was such a nice thing to do.”
“Be nice to your little brother.”
Does hearing those phrases leave you feeling ho-hum? That’s how I feel when others use the word “nice” to describe me. Even when offered as genuine encouragement, the word falls flat and feels lukewarm. Nice is what I am when I haven’t allowed others to see my soul. I tend to hide behind “niceness.” But girls are supposed to be nice, right?
I’m nice out of fear. I’m nice when I want to avoid confrontation. I’m nice to please others. I’m nice so that my critical heart isn’t exposed. Niceness is an adjective. Kindness is a verb. Kindness gives without thought of self. Kindness serves others.
As a Christ follower I want to be kind instead of just being nice. Anyone can be nice, but kindness is part of the fruit (Galatians 5:22) of a new identity in Christ. It’s who I am when I don’t bow to fear, but instead dare to offer my life to serve those in need.
Kindness is active and speaks and shares with strength and conviction for the wellbeing of another.
… love is kind… (1 Corinthians 13:4).
In consulting an online Bible dictionary, kindness brought up numerous verses; nice showed ‘No Results.’ Isn’t that interesting?
Kindness is interchangeable with the word, mercy. Kindness in Titus 3:4 means usefulness in character and gentleness or goodness. Do you desire to be kind like I do?
He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness [mercy in NIV], and to walk humbly with your God (Micah 6:8 ESV).
Lord, your kindness makes all the difference in my life. May I love kindness and be merciful to others.
As a young, self-sufficient adult, I allowed the grace of God to save me from eternal condemnation. Then, almost immediately, I got back in high gear and began striving to please God in my own efforts. Grace had vanished. This only made it harder for me to admit to my continued failures. I wanted—no—I needed to project my shortcomings on something or someone else to save face. I was afraid to be honest with God. Pride imprisoned me in denial and from taking responsibility for my attitudes, actions, and feelings.
It’s hard to admit wrongdoing. Pride hinders grace. Grace paves the way for brokenness and transparency.
As I continue to risk sharing my depraved condition before Jesus, His response is one of unconditional love and grace. I’ve been able to take ownership for my part in the failure of two marriages, of not parenting well, and harboring unforgiveness. Grace made it possible for me to admit my sin, in the first place, to bring me into the presence of God for eternity.
It is by the same grace that I am daily freed so that I may humbly admit my weaknesses to God. I’m not rendered useless by shame or pride anymore! He wants to use me in spite of my failures. And He wants to use you, too, sweet sister!
To trust God’s grace allows us to courageously stop blame-shifting. Then we grow and heal into wholeness. God gets all the credit. We become a safe place for others and we may get to see their defensive walls crumble, too.
May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word (2 Thessalonians 2:16-17). Amen.