Wednesday, November 16, 2011

The Teaching of Kindness is on Her Tongue

“She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.” Proverbs 31:26
I ponder this often and share it often on Facebook because I so deperately need to be reminded of it. Shocking though this may be (ha), kindness is not usually my natural default response. Far more often than I really want to admit here, my default response is sarcasm and a prickly manner and an impatient tone of voice. I cannot tell you how many nights I review the day and realize, rather late, that I’ve said or done something that just plain wasn’t kind, or that I've been too quick to take offense when I ought not to have....and the horror is that I didn’t realize how unkind it was until much later. It’s usually not what I’ve said that’s’s how I’ve said it that makes all the difference. Being mom means I have to say things the kids don’t want to hear sometimes, but how I say them can make all the difference in whether I’m kind or snippy. 
I am thankful for the gospel. It is in remembering that it is in Christ, in His extreme kindness to me in saving me, that I have sure hope. It is in learning to rest in the fact that I am counted right before God because of what Christ has done on my behalf that my eyes are being opened to the times when I’m living in my natural default of unkindness, and I pray for wisdom to learn to surrender my natural default to Him so that I may learn to live in and by and through His grace. And I am thankful for the heart-work of the gospel that leads me to realize my sin and to confess it to God, yes, but also for the grace to learn to confess it to those I hurt with my unkindnesses. And when God has shown me much longsuffering and mercy in cleansing me of my filth, oughtn't I then to learn to be longsuffering toward others and point them to Jesus?

And I just have to add this here, I am finding that one way to guard my heart against that natural bent toward snarky, sarcastic, unkind responses is to limit my time on Facebook and blogs, something I've not been doing well lately. A too steady diet of that can lead me in that direction, because often the discourse, even among Christians, in those venues can be too sarcastic, and I know from personal experience that it is extremely contagious. Not saying a little well-placed sarcasm never has a place, but I am saying that it's a pitfall for me when I'm not careful with it, and it can easily move from innocent to biting unnecessarily and unhelpfully, and it easily becomes a habit to have a sarcastic or overly critical or impatient mindset. Just a thought on that.
Please, Lord God, guard my tongue and teach my heart to be kind. Teach me to surrender my selfishness and to remember what mercy and grace You have shown me, a sinner, and help me to model kindness - especially and first in my own home, especially and first when I don’t feel like it.....most especially then. Help me to model kindness and mercy to those You have entrusted to me here in this home, and help me to recognize it when my tone of voice is not as loving and kind as You would have it be.  Because my desire is, ultimately, to point them to Jesus. In Jesus alone they will find forgiveness for their own sin and the rest and kindness that He alone can truly offer.

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