First, God has been speaking to me about being kind. In our crazy, busy world, we can become so self-focused and time-driven that we lose any focus on kindness. Busyness is often the number one enemy of kindness. In Colossians 3, God instructs us to clothe ourselves with kindness. The Greek word there for clothe literally means to put on kindness. Kindness is a choice. It’s something we can choose to put on and wear. Let’s learn to react to situations and people with kindness. Proverbs 11:17, “Your own soul is nourished when you are kind; it is destroyed when you are cruel.” (LB)
Secondly, God has told me to focus on being an encourager. I struggled in how to write about this because kindness and encouragement are very similar. But as I thought about it, kindness seems reactionary. We react with kindness, instead of anger, frustration or impatience. Whereas kindness is reactionary, being an encourager is proactive. God is calling us to look for opportunities to encourage someone. Be a proactive encourager. Hebrews 3:13 says, “But encourage one another day after day, as long as it is still called today, lest anyone of you be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.”
One of the enemy’s goals is to get us discouraged, weary, and if possible, hardened by sin’s deceitfulness. But, we have a role in countering his attacks. Be a vessel God can use to bring hope and encouragement to others. Speak words of life, expectation, and courage. 1 Thessalonians 5:11 says, “Therefore encourage one another, and build up one another just as you are doing.”
Finally, God has been speaking to me about being gracious. Isaiah 54:17 says, “No weapon formed against you shall prosper. And every tongue that rises against you in judgment you shall condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, and their righteousness is from Me, says the Lord.”
There are times when tongues rise against us in judgment. It’s sad when those tongues belong to fellow believers – and worse, when they belong to us – when we become those who judge. And haven’t we all been guilty? But instead of being judgmental, let’s be gracious. I think we become judgmental when we subconsciously begin to think that with our own “good behavior” we have helped earn our own righteousness. In this verse, God reminds us that our righteousness comes only from Him.
I could have written that the third thing God said to me was – don’t be judgmental. I tried to put a positive spin on it by saying – be gracious. Offer grace. Offer love and compassion. Speak the truth – but in love. Be slow to speak, quick to hear, and slow to anger. Be gracious.