There’s so many things that I could share with you about kindness, but the reality is, my love, you continuously show me what a kind heart truly looks like. Whether it be from your Sunday School teachers telling me how you love to find visitors who don’t know anyone and invite them to sit by you so they don’t feel alone or whether it be from other parents telling me about the sweet notes of encouragement you have written to make your basketball team friends feel so special, I have seen over and over a heart within you that genuinely cares about other people. I want you to know, sweet girl, that is such a beautiful quality that I pray you will always hold within your heart.
One thing I have always believed is that the greatest test of kindness is how we treat others who have wronged us. I will admit that it’s not an easy thing to do. In fact, let me just say that I am far from perfect, and I am still a work in progress with forgiving others. Sometimes I get it right, while other times I can fail miserably…especially when it comes to those I love being hurt or mistreated. But I want to share a memory with you of a story that I posted on my Facebook page last year because it had such an impact on me. I share it with the hope that you will never forget how God used you to remind me of what kindness and forgiveness is all about.
“I saw it with my own eyes yesterday–a girl being anything but kind to my daughter. I have to tell you that every part of me wanted to go mama bear crazy and let this girl and her little group of friends know exactly what I thought about their mean behavior. Somehow I waited, but after we left the pool Emma got an earful. Everything from how she didn’t deserve this constant rejection (this has happened repeatedly with this girl) to the fact that I cannot sit by all summer and watch this girl act in such a mean way. Something had to be done. We discussed possible ways of handling it. Robb, of course, was more than willing to handle it and told us several things he was going to say the next time he saw her (Gulp). Emma assured him that she wanted to handle it…to which I was in full agreement. We went to bed and prayed asking the Lord to help us handle the situation. The next morning when Emma came downstairs the first thing she told me was that she had thought about it and had decided to share Ephesians 4:32 with her friend: ‘Be ye kind one to another, tender hearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.’ There’s so much I love about this. First, instead of getting caught up in all the drama, she choose to use God’s truth to direct her words, and I love how God laid this verse on her heart overnight. We had not even talked about this verse, yet she woke up with it on her heart. But as I thought about it, perhaps the most powerful thing is how the Lord put that verse on her heart not just for her friend but for ME because the second part of the verse had MY name all over it–‘Forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.’ As I thought about it, I had spoken to Emma about making sure that we don’t respond unkindly because that is not what Jesus would want, but not once did I ever mention forgiving this unkind friend. I was too riled up to even think about that, but as my sweet girl quoted the verse to me, it was as if God Himself was telling me with a megaphone, ‘As quick as you are to expect people to be kind–I expect you to forgive because I have forgiven you.’ Hence, whether forgiving comes easy or not, it’s what God has instructed us to do. So today we will head to the pool and do just that. We will be kind, we will forgive, and we will know without a doubt that we are pleasing God and doing what is right. Is there really anything greater? And the best part is–when we lay our heads on our pillows tonight we will have no regrets. Thank you, Lord, for showing up and showing this mama’s heart Your perspective and Your heart. Help me not to get caught up in how I FEEL about situations but to respond in what I KNOW is right and true. Help me to see others through Your eyes and to always be willing to forgive just as You have forgiven me.”
The reality is, lovey, whether we are 10 or 45, we all want to be loved, appreciated, and valued by others. We all want to matter. Often, friendship makes our lives so much sweeter and makes us feel so special, but it can also bitterly disappoint us when it fails to meet our hopes and expectations. And it’s in these moments when we have been hurt or disappointed that we have to make sure that we don’t let it change our hearts and who we are. Regardless of what others do, we must remember that we are responsible for our own actions and how we respond to others, and we can never go wrong by showing kindness and forgiveness. No matter what, I also want you to always remember that there is a FOREVER FRIEND who sticks closer than a brother (Proverbs 18:24) and who has promised to NEVER leave us nor forsake us (Hebrews 13:5b) and who will meet our EVERY need. In fact, He loves us so fiercely that He even gave His life for us. And because of that, we can CELEBRATE that in Him there is no greater friend. We can look to Him to learn how to show genuine kindness, forgiveness, and love because He alone is the author of love and kindness and the only perfect example to follow.
Love you forever,