We’ve all heard that phrase before, right? Kindness. Being kind. Considerate. Gentle. Doesn’t seem that hard, does it?
Sometimes it is.
Remember the story of King David and Saul? Jealous that David was to be Saul’s successor, King Saul intended to kill David. The King entered a dark cave where David hid. David could have killed Saul, but he didn’t. He exercised kindness, self-control.
Everybody has a King Saul in their life. Probably not someone out to kill them, but a difficult person to be around, one who slings hurtful words or does ugly things. It’s easy to like nice people, but it’s a lot harder to show kindness to the King Saul’s in your life.
Recently, I discussed random acts of kindness with a group of seven-year-olds. Rubbing a pet’s belly, helping a neighbor, giving mom or dad a hug after a tough day. We even talked about being kind to their King Saul’s. Why didn’t it occur to me that a parent might be a child’s King Saul?
A child depends on their parents for everything: a place to sleep, food, clothing, education. What happens when a parent neglects the basics, like love, affection or food?
OK. I can understand how stress factors like going through a divorce, losing a job, a big move, or lack of finances might affect a parent’s ability to show kindness to their child. They’re tired. Stressed. They react to something the child does, or says, or a child’s behavior. On occasion.
But repeatedly? Enough that a government agency comes in and removes a child from the parents, giving them to someone else to raise until the parents take classes so they can learn how to be kind to their kid? I still can’t wrap my head around it.
Kindness. It shouldn’t be that hard for a parent. But apparently it is.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. (Gal 5:22-23a NIV)
Are you growing the fruit of kindness?