Saturday, January 19, 2013

Plant Seeds of Kindness

Kindness may be one of the hardest lessons to learn and to teach. Oh, it's easy to reach out to people and help them in times of crisis. Actions come so much easier than words. Ephesians 4:32 says, "And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God, for Christ's sake, has forgiven you." But if our actions don't match our words, the actions are in vain and will not be accepted as kindness, but rather as charity, or something to make you, the giver, feel good.

Kind deeds are easy but gossip is easier. Unkind words are easier. They flow from our lips like water, and once spoken, can never be taken back. They are like pieces of torn paper, the pieces so small they can never be glued back together. Gossip and unkind words are like those same tiny pieces of paper scattered by the wind, never to be brought together again.

Proverbs 18:6-8 says it very well: Pro 18:6  A fool's lips enter into contention, and his mouth calleth for strokes.
Pro 18:7  A fool's mouth is his destruction, and his lips are the snare of his soul.
Pro 18:8  The words of a talebearer are as wounds, and they go down into the innermost parts of the belly.
               Notice verse 6 says that with our mouths we enter into arguments. Those arguments lead to anger and the anger can then lead to blows—fights.
               Verse 7 says our mouths lead to our destruction. Our words get us into trouble—they are the snares or traps of our souls. When we tell lies or embellish the truth (exaggerate), we have to remember what we said so we don't contradict ourselves later. We get caught in our own webs of lies. If you have trouble getting people to believe you, perhaps you should consider whether or not you are perceived as a perpetual liar.
               Verse 8 talks about the tale-barer, the gossiper, the one who delights in telling tales on others. Three of my Sunday school children are siblings and constantly telling on each other. My response is always the same: "I don't want to hear it." When a friend starts to tell me something about someone else my response is "I don't want to hear it." Gossip hurts. It destroys relationships, fosters distrust, and causes emotional wounds that may never heal. It destroys reputation, assassinates character. Whether or not the tale is true is beside the point. Everyone doesn't need to know everything negative about another person.
               Our response to someone else's sin should be as follows: Gal_6:1  Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.
               Gossip is never right. I would a hundred times rather be whipped than to have someone talk about me behind my back. If you don't have the courage to talk to someone about an action on their part that has offended you, don't tell it to someone else. Be kind. Talk to that person in the spirit of friendship and love. Tell them you are hurt or angry, or that you don't understand why a particular thing was said or done. Try to work it out. Don't lose a friend over it. Don't make your own pain worse by spreading rumors, innuendo, half-truths, or your own bitterness. This type of cancer is contagious.

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