Friday, December 18, 2015

The Skill of Being Kind

A rare less than 5% of people are born with a special skill. The Skill of Being Kind.

It sounds so simple. Many people think they are already kind, or at least kind enough. Others don't worry about being kind. And some are born with this miraculous, innate ability to mirror Jesus's kindness. While we've all heard of this universal attribute, sadly many of us have not learned it.

Yes. Kindness is a skill. It is a difficult task for the other 95% of us.

While everyone is required to learn to be kind, it takes everyone a different amount of time to perfect it. Some people are very young, and some very old, when they learn the true meaning kindness. Once learning what it means to be kind, you then have to apply this skill to your life. This is incredibly difficult, because as humans we are fighting our environments. We are not often raised in kind environments. We don't always work in them, drive in them, live in them. We are fighting the instinctive behaviors we grew up with and were taught. We are also protecting ourselves from pain by putting up walls and thinking me first.

This was Satan's most brilliant idea yet to corrupt an already selfish Human species. He made us feel like it was necessary to worry more about ourselves than other people. If I can just take care of me and if I just love myself first are truly dangerous thoughts. They aren't evil but they can turn a person evil when that person becomes consumed with them. When you are so focused on your own happiness, it is literally impossible to focus on other people's. In fact, it has become so common, popular even, to be self-absorbed, that being selfless and meek are seen as weak and unattractive.

It is heartbreaking.

When you think of Christ, do you ever think of Him as one who put His needs, wants, desires before those of others? Of course He didn't. Read the bible.

Christ was the most selfless and meek of all. We are asked to be like Him, even as a little child, with that humble quiet demeanor. That has been long forgotten in this wicked world, where wealth, fame, belongings and "beautiful" looks have distracted us from why we even came here. It is so easy to be rude, without even knowing we are rude. Because that rude conduct Is so accepted, there is no need to change it. At least not here, on earth. However forgotten in this life, kindness is not forgotten in the next, and it is a large key to the gate of eternal happiness.

I often think of the things I say and do out of habit, reflecting on how they would be received if I were living among Christ and His people. More often than not I am appalled at myself. For example, if I honk my horn at someone while driving, I later think about the situation, and how necessary it was For me to honk, whether it was imperative or whether it was out of frustration and selfish motives. I am bothered by the frequency of my mistakes, my rude attitude, when I think about what the other person might be going through. Here is another fine example from the opposite perspective. I was driving with my two kids in the backseat. Both children were screaming. It was a bad day. My toddler had thrown her sippy cup on the floor. When I came to a red light, I knew that if I could just reach that cup and give it to her, one of my screaming kids would be appeased. (as a mom, that is better than gold, sex, and chocolate-COMBINED) anyways, at the red light, I put my car in park and went for the sippy cup. I retrieved it and handed it to my daughter just as the car behind me began to honk. I looked forward and the light had just turned green. Now, this fellow had not been waiting for me, nor had I stalled his day or made him miss the light, but he was impatient and obviously very concerned about his own agenda. I was very flustered by that man, but also by the fact that I realized I probably have done the same hurtful thing to someone else.

If we are to learn to be kind, we must emulate Christ in all of our actions, including limiting those mortal and natural desires to think first of ourselves. God taught over and over that service was the best way to learn to love others and yourself. Service, as in serving the needs of others. It is wonderful what service does to a person, but the service must be done with the right intentions. If you're only doing an act of service because you desire something for yourself, it no longer is service. It is a selfish act.

Being kind comes from the heart. It is apparent in those people who were born with it, and those who learn the skill. They don't think twice about sacrificing something they might want to do so that someone else can be happy. They don't hesitate to move their feet if they happen to be blocking the path of another. They hurry to help, assist, volunteer. And They do all of this for people who do and don't deserve it. They remember the situations of others around them, so they can ask about it later to check in. For example, if your friend had a death in the family, did you send flowers, offer to help at the funeral, or give them a call a week later to see how they were coping? Did your neighbor have a sick child? So you cooked them dinner or texted them to see how the child was healing? In second thought, maybe someone you didn't like needed aid. But were you there for them, or were they "undeserving"?

There are three degrees of kindness.
1. Being Kind because we have to.
2. Being Kind because we want to.
3. Being Kind because we need to.

Being nice to someone who isn't nice to you is a need, my friends. And it will transform you In ways unimaginable. It will make you kinder than you ever dreamed.

It is not always second nature for us to be kind, in fact it is quite unusually the opposite. It is unnatural and hard for us to be kind. That is why it is a skill, one that disappears if not practiced. Sometimes I meet older people who are grumpy and unfriendly, and I wonder why they still haven't learned to be gentle like Christ. Many of their earthly accomplishments will fall short at the Golden Gates as they're compared to their aggressive and self centered goals. Were they more driven towards money and fame? Did they pursue unhealthy relationships? Did they misuse their bodies? Were they more helpful to themselves than those around them? Did they speak to others how they wanted to be spoken to? Did they slight their greater heavenly responsibilities for lesser earthly ones?

There is nothing wrong with having a variety of goals, but it is so so so important to prioritize.

Being Kind should be in our top 2 priorities.

I know kindness is something I was not born with. It is something I've been working on for several years, and I am just now being able to put the mental work into physical actions. As I've been spiritually practicing this skill, I'm learning to physically practice it by demonstrating kindness in my actions. I'm finding it easier to do, day by day, as my original reactions are replaced with more Christlike ones. I think of others more than myself. I try to live in a way that Christ would be proud of. Although I err frequently, I am happy with the progress I've made and the happiness in others who are recipients of a kind deed I've done.

What kind deed can you do today to start you on your journey to becoming a kinder person?