Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Virtues of March: Kindness

Virtues of March: Kindness
Author's Character Series
Net's Notation Tuesdays

Who is the kindest person you know?

Merriam Webster dictionary online describes this virtue as “of a sympathetic or helpful nature.” One definition is “mindful of other people.”

Does kindness come naturally to you? I’m naturally sympathetic, but kindness has to be intentional in my life.

As Christians, our example of kindness is found in Jesus. He reaches out for the widow’s hand in comfort. He heals the leper because mercy (a closely related virtue) motivates Him to move.

What motivates you to move?

One night as I sat before my computer considering this journey as a writer, fear snuck up on me. This was years ago (not that fear doesn’t lurk even now), and I believe I was considering entering a short-story contest. Either way, there I sat, knowing my calling. Knowing I had something to offer, but fearing failure. Fearing the future.

I flipped from Web site to Web site, considering other authors’ novels. What if I didn’t measure up? What if I succeeded?!

That’s about the point I remember feeling Jesus step up behind me and it was as if He put His arms around me. I felt His presence. I felt His assurance, His benediction, even. He covered me with peace and affirmation. Kindness. Because right at that moment in my writing life, I didn’t have to be Jerry Jenkins or Karen Kingsbury. I never have to be those awesome authors. I just have to be me. And I have time to get to the potential God has placed in me.

And so do you.

But there He was, comforting me in my fret. Just when I needed it. What a gift of kindness.

I smiled. I teared up. I thanked Him. And I pressed on and entered that contest.

Sometimes I turn to people for kindness in the midst of the dark forest of fret. Fellow critique partners, family, writing buds. And there’s nothing wrong with that. But I want to turn to God first. I want to soak up His kindness, letting it penetrate those pockets of fear until fear is overwhelmed by affirmation, and I find peace again.

Kindness is rare in our world. Competition and fast-paced lifestyles relegate it to a low priority. But when you show kindness, you are showing your Christlike character.

And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another,
just as God in Christ forgave you. (Ephesians 4:32)

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