Is Kindness a Weakness? (Y1.T1.D26)
Updated: Oct 14
Pexels, "Andres Ayrton"
When I was eight years old, my family moved from poverty to the lower-middle-class. A new neighborhood meant I had to make new friends. The problem was, the girl who ran the block looked down on what I wore and publicly refused to play with me.
Her rejection taught me empathy. Whenever somebody new moved onto the block, I went out of my way to befriend them. I never wanted someone else to feel the same hurt I had. I’d ask about their families and share my toys, never knowing the anger brewing in the heart of a territorial bully.
By junior high, the mean girl became a cheerleader, and I became a geek with glasses. One weekend she invited me to her house. Ready to make friends, I naively entered an ambush. Every girl in the neighborhood sat as a jury in the family room while the popular girl grilled me, “You’re so phony. You pretend to like everyone. As soon as someone new moves in, there you are all, friendly and fake.”
Not one girl in the room stood up for me. And I was too young to realize what my tormentor saw as weakness was actually a strength.
For at least a decade, that incident warped my perception of friendship. I developed some of the same anxiety my nemesis had. When I did make friends, I clung to them like the sick clung to Jesus. After getting healed, the people “held on to him, so that he wouldn't go away from them. But he said to them, ‘I must preach the good news of God's Kingdom to the other cities also. For this is the reason I've been sent.’ ” (Luke 4:42–43)
Unlike the people of Capernaum, I'm blessed to have unending access to the Savior. He loved me enough to be insulted by the masses rather than abandon a sinner like me (Luke 7:34). He encourages me to "be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another" as he forgave me (Ephesians 4:32).
You'll be happy to hear I'm no longer clingy. I’ve learned to look for people who love me because of my kindness and quirks. The friendships I have now are lasting. I'm not jealous of how close any of my friends are to others. If someone needs to leave, I celebrate their next destination, knowing I will see them again one day, either here on earth or when we enter eternal life.
And when someone decides to criticize my kindness, I remind them it comes from a place of strength.
The Kindness of Jesus
36 Simon and those who were with him searched for him. 37 They found him and told him, “Everyone is looking for you.”
38 He said to them, “Let’s go elsewhere into the next towns, that I may preach there also, because I came out for this reason.” (Mark 1:36–38)
42b and the multitudes looked for him, and came to him, and held on to him, so that he wouldn’t go away from them. 43 But he said to them, “I must preach the good news of God’s Kingdom to the other cities also. For this reason I have been sent.” (Luke 4:42b–43)
23 Jesus went about in all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the Good News of the Kingdom, and healing every disease and every sickness among the people. 24 The report about him went out into all Syria. They brought to him all who were sick, afflicted with various diseases and torments, possessed with demons, epileptics, and paralytics; and he healed them. 25 Great multitudes from Galilee, Decapolis, Jerusalem, Judea, and from beyond the Jordan followed him. (Matthew 4:23–25)
2 He will judge your people with righteousness,
and your poor with justice.
3 The mountains shall bring prosperity to the people.
The hills bring the fruit of righteousness.
4 He will judge the poor of the people.
He will save the children of the needy,
and will break the oppressor in pieces.
5 They shall fear you while the sun endures;
and as long as the moon, throughout all generations.
6 He will come down like rain on the mown grass,
as showers that water the earth.
7 In his days, the righteous shall flourish,
and abundance of peace, until the moon is no more. (Psalm 72:2–7)
Thank you for Your kind friendship. Guide my conversations with others to be more about contentment than covetousness (Hebrews 13:5). I seek, the joy and peace and companionship that comes from dwelling together in unity (Psalm 133:1). And when trouble comes, let me be the kind of friend who supports rather than insults (Proverbs 17:17).
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