Monday Morning Devotion-September 18, 2023
Put on Kindness
Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourself with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience Colossians 3:12
*From November 2012
When you get dressed in the morning you probably think, first, about the different pieces of clothing you are going to put on. Let's see, what's the weather like outside? Will I need long sleeves or short? Need a sweater, or no? Which pair of shoes will I wear (for some people with a closet full of shoes this may be the tough part?)
After you have determined the comfort level needed, then you check to see if everything matches up. Any colors clash? Do they complement each other? In short, you want to look the best you can and the way you dress can affect that. I'm not even gointget into the makeup and jewelry aspect that women have to consider. It's too complex for me.
I tremble with fear whenever the Lovely Susette says; "Honey would you see if you can get this necklace to hook in the back? Why in the world do they make those clasps on women's jewelry so tiny? I fumble and stumble around with this task until I finally get lucky and get it hooked or she gives up and figures it out for herself or decides on a different piece of jewelry.
Anyway, the point of all this is that getting dressed in the morning takes some effort and at least a minimum amount of thought, depending on what's on tap for the day. Work, leisure, fun, etc. Even yard work requires selecting the proper attire to protect you from the sun or cold.
So, what we wear is largely determined by what we are going to do that day.
The apostle Paul, writing in Colossians lays out some rules for living and compares the activity of putting on clothes with consciously putting on Christian decorum. He indicates that we should choose wisely our attitudes and actions, putting on those that speak to our faith and beliefs.
Paul says that as saints (Christians) we are set apart and positioned to be holy in this world. Consequently, we have to put on those attributes that don't clash with our character. The attitudes and actions we take should match up.
First of all, he says we should put on compassion. This is having a heart for the needs and travails of others. Next, he points to kindness which is an unselfish spirit of doing for others. In the Believer's Bible commentary, we read that humility is the elevating of others over one’s self.
Then gentleness and patience go hand in hand as they speak of just being patient under provocation and not flying off the handle and reacting badly.
Wow. All that looks like a tall order to me. How do we do that? Well, I'm not sure I can manage all of them all the time, but maybe each of them from time to time. But I think that the more I try to do these things the better person I will be and the closer to Jesus I'll become by following the things he modeled for us.
Now as I look at that list, I believe kindness is a key attribute, which if developed, could help the others fall into place more easily. None of us is completely devoid of kindness. We each have some of it. So how do we become even kinder?
Well, I thought about it and thought about it some more. I googled kindness. I looked in books. I threw out some things as ridiculous, others as impossible. Then, I came across a webpage called Simple to Remember.com where I found 20 Ideas for Being Kind. Now, I don't think we need to go into all 20 of them but let me share with you some of them. I think these will stimulate your thinking about kindness and how you can become kinder:
1. First just be resolved to be a kind person. We all have this self-portrait of ourselves...the way we feel like we appear to others. Sometimes holes get shot into that when are challenged concerning a thought, opinion, or action. But if we just make up our minds to be kind then follow up by thinking, speaking, and acting with kindness we are on our way.
2. Love kindness. Basically, we do what we love to do most of the time. It makes us happy. So, if we focus on acting with kindness we will be happy.
3. When meeting someone let your first thoughts be what can I say that is kind and what kind thing could I do.
4. Keep asking people, sincerely, What can I do for you?
5. Be an encourager. What can I say that will be encouraging and lift him or her up?
6. Wherever you are, you are there for a reason. It's part of God's plan so ask yourself, Since I am here now, what kindness can I do?
7. Every kind person is unique. You have unique talents, skills, knowledge and resources. Use them to help others in your own unique way.
8. Do a daily act of kindness without letting anyone know who did it.
9. Learn from every kind act you see or read about. Ask yourself, What can I learn from this to be kinder?
10. Finally, here's a valuable rule. Even if you do not feel like a kind person you can still act like one. Think of a kind act you can do that you do not feel like doing.
Now that's a lot of kindness to digest at one time. There's probably no way you will be able to implement all of those quickly. Some may require a lot of adjusting in attitude, actions, feelings even your overall thinking.
But I believe if you just pick out one of those each day or a few times a week and try to implement it you will feel better each time you do. The people you come in contact with will too.
Just looking at yourself and thinking about what actions by others make you feel better can be a guide as to how you can show kindness to someone else.
Paul was trying to give those new Christians some guidelines for living a lifestyle that was in keeping with their newfound beliefs and would be attractive to others. Kindness was certainly at the head of that list.
Monday Prayer: Lord show us how-to put-on kindness in our lives and have those other attributes of goodness follow. Amen!