An anxious heart weighs a man down, but a kind word cheers him up. –Proverbs 12:25
Have you considered that many times we treat co-workers, acquaintances and even total strangers with more courtesy and respect than we do the people we are the closest to? It just sounds crazy when you think about it- a person we don’t know very well and are not close to, receives more kindness, patience and compassion than those we love the most. In many marriages and families today, being rude, saying ugly things and just being plain mean is tolerated and acceptable. And then we wonder why our relationships are fractured, full of stress and why we are unhappy!
Why is it OK to treat those we love with impatience, thoughtlessness and disregard? The answer is it’s not OK, and never will be. God is very concerned with how we treat each other! He desires that we show each other gentleness, compassion and kindness (Colossians 3:12-14) because that is His very character and that is what he shows to us. Paul tells us in Ephesians 2:7 that the grace of God was actually expressed in his kindness through Christ. Additionally, God “delights” in the exercise of kindness according to Jeremiah 9:24. Many ask the question, “How do I please God?” “What does he want me to do?” God is pleased when we are kind to each other, when we consider others better than ourselves; he wants us to treat others with kindness. Micah the prophet reminded God’s people what God had already told them was right and what they were to do; and it wasn’t a suggestion, it was a requirement:
He has told you, O man, what is good;
And what does the LORD require of you
But to do justice, to love kindness,
And to walk humbly with your God?
God never requires or tells us to do something that is not for our good, or that does not work when we put it into practice. The result is God’s pleasure, and our fulfillment and peace with him.