As if patience wasn’t hard enough, now I’m supposed to be kind?
I am still working on this aspect of love. As with all relationships, we have been on glorious mountain tops and many valleys. At times it felt as if we were going to be swallowed up by the storms that brought us to the valley. Thankfully, as always, God reached into our valley and showed us the way out. We’re not on a mountain top yet, but each day we’re getting closer.
He always offers us a way back up to the mountains. It is through Jesus. If we did not have Jesus, our lifeline, there would be no way out of the valley.
While we endured years in the valley, kindness was the last thing on our minds. He hurt me, I hurt him. There is never just one side who is at fault. I made a choice to repay his lack of kindness with more lack of kindness. That vicious cycle finally stopped when God took hold of me and said, ‘Show him grace, just as I have shown to you’. Those words penetrated my heart and soul. I realized that by reacting in the way that I did, it actually fostered resentment on both sides and was creating a chasm so wide that it was making it harder and harder for us to bridge the gap. My lack of kindness not only drew me further away from my husband, more importantly, it drew me away from God. I needed to stop. Now.
According to The Love Dare, there are 4 core ingredients to kindness:
I think the first three were easier at first than the fourth. Initiative. That meant that even though I was hurt, I had to step out in faith. First.
But he… It wasn’t my… I didn’t make him…
Excuse and rationalization time was over. God had a lesson for me to learn. It was really difficult. God wanted me to step up. Even though I was hurting. What God made me realize was that my husband was hurting as well. We were hurting, in different ways, together. One of us had to take initiative and because God knew where my husband was at in his walk, He chose me. Looking back now, it was the biggest lesson and ultimate blessing in my life. It caused me to have to trust God in ways I had never had to before.
True love isn’t about feelings. Feelings are fleeting and dependent on so many things going on around us. True love is about actions that you take when you will not necessarily receive anything in return. It is what you do when no one is watching, or when you think no one is watchng. Committing to series is an example. You may not receive anything in return from your spouse. My prayer is that you will. At the very least, you will be changed.
Think about it. Jesus suffered. He was in agony. He wasn’t just hurt. His feelings weren’t just hurt. He was devastated. The very people he came to save turned their backs on him and took his life. He could have placed blame. He could have pointed fingers. He could have made excuses and rationalized why He wasn’t going to do what needed to be done. He could have been unkind. He could have repaid what was done to him. Instead, he stepped up when God called him. He took initiative. He literally gave his life so that we could forever be united with His Father. He showed what true love is supposed to look like. He didn’t ask for anything in return. He was willing to die for us.
I want that kind of love. Do you?
Here we go…
In addition to saying nothing negative to your spouse again today, do at least one unexpected gesture as an act of kindness.
Once again, at the end of the day answer these questions:
1. What discoveries about love did you make today?
2. What specifically did you do in this dare?
3. How did you show kindness?
Congratulations! Day 2 is complete! Tomorrow…Love is not selfish. Day 3