Ever have those times when you are working on improving a particular part of yourself, only to find that God seems to be throwing every curve ball at you. He’s funny like that. Ask Him for patience and He won’t GIVE you patience but rather He will give you situations where your patience is tested…and then convict you when you aren’t patient. Insert eye-roll here.
But this is really the only way we learn right? We won’t really learn patience, kindness, selflessness if He just gives it to us, if it’s just handed to us. But rather, we learn these things when we continuously practice these traits, when we are given the choice to between being selfless or choosing our own desires over others.
We learn them by choosing to reflect these traits rather than our sinful, first impulses.
I’m learning that God will put specific situations in your path so that we can learn how to live in a way that reflects Him.
The thing I’m trying to improve in my life? Being kind to unkind people.
Specifically, showing love and grace even when I feel like it’s not deserved by them. Even when they are wrong, they don’t deserve it, they are are being spiteful and mean.
This. is. Hard. Like real hard.
I know I’m not the only one who tends to ignore people, or write them off completely, when they’re being mean and hateful. Right?…Please tell me I’m not the only one!
We’ve all been there: the friend that is ignoring you for no reason, that person you had a falling out with but see every now and then, the friend who refuses to support you. We all have that person. And we all (I’m assuming I’m not alone in this) find it’s easier to just ignore the person like they ignore you. To just walk right by them when we see them. To roll your eyes when their name gets brought up.
But, in scripture, we see Christ model a different way to respond to these people.
In Luke 6:27-36 we read Jesus’ command to love our enemies. To do good to those who hate us. To pray for those who abuse us.
Um. Okay. Easy peasy right?
Yea…not so much!
But it’s not supposed to be easy. It’s supposed to challenge us and stretch us. All the while sanctifying us so that we will look more like Him.
So a few months ago, I prayed that God would change this in me. That even when people are mean, even when people who call themselves my friends ignore me, even when I’ve been hurt, even through all that, I prayed that I could show grace and love and kindness.
Let me just tell you that this may be the hardest thing that I’m having to learn. But, I’m trying to be intentional about this. I’m trying to be better about showing love even when it’s not deserved.
Because Christ loves me even when I don’t deserve it. And I never deserve it.
So, I’m trying to forgive in my heart even when forgiveness hasn’t been asked for. I’m trying to not be bitter when I see this person. To reach out and show kindness. And – the hardest part – to truly mean it!
Let me tell you…this has been hard. This has been real hard. Like trying to fit into skinny jeans after Thanksgiving dinner hard.
And as soon as this prayer came from my mouth, God has put me in situations to grow me in this way.
Along this journey of showing love and kindness to people even when it’s undeserved I’ve learned something profound. Something I should have expected to learn.
I’ve learned that more times than I’d like to admit, I am the person in need of kindness and love when it’s not deserved.
I’ve caught myself many times being mean and spiteful, in need of grace.
Isn’t it funny how God works?
He humbles us in the most unexpected ways!
I love all the examples we see in Scripture of Christ showing love to those who really don’t deserve it.
The greatest of these examples being in the Gospels when we see Christ being arrested, beaten, questioned, tortured, and eventually crucified. Through all that He continued to show kindness. Through all that He refused to lash out in anger.
This is our greatest example, friends. And if we are meant to be more and more like Christ every day, then we are meant to follow this example of unwavering love, grace and kindness.
As I am on this continuing journey of learning how to show undeserved kindness, I am learning more and more about my Father. And I’m learning more and more about how much I, myself, am in desperate need for undeserved kindness and love.
I pray that as we each grow and learn and strive to become more like Him, we allow our prayers to not only be for growth in our hearts but also that our prayers would open our eyes to how desperately we need Him.
I pray that when kindness seems too hard for us, we can remember and be motivated by the daily grace and love we are shown by our heavenly Father.