“My son, do not refuse a kindness to anyone who begs it, if it is in your power to perform it.” (Prov 3:27)
Kindness is a tricky thing. What can be intended to be a kind act ‘for the good of another’ can sometimes be received as hurtful and damaging. We know this as kids, when the ‘kind’ act of our parents disciplining us, shouting at us, pointing out our mistakes and telling us to ‘do better’, can sometimes do more harm than good. Similarly, simply pointing out people’s mistakes and telling them the ‘right’ way of doing things without offering to accompany and journey with them with love, patience and understanding, can actually be refusing kindness to the person begging for it.
I ran a session with the youths from @edify_hc and created a safe space for them to check in their feelings and struggles without judgment or immediate correction. What they appreciated about it was simply the air time to pour out their honest feelings and struggles, and actually feel heard, supported and accompanied. What surprised me was how some of the youths who never used to share so openly or deeply began to do so. Some who often appeared negative or aloof began to show signs of interest and positivity. Some even pointed out that these were things they can’t even share among their close friends in school. Yet in this space, they experienced kindness through everyone in the room, and through the simple power each of us had to listen without judgment, to share in the person’s feelings and struggles with understanding and compassion, and ultimately bring Christ’s loving presence into each of our lives.
We may not have ‘solved their problems’ or changed their situations, but I believe they walked away feeling relieved, supported and encouraged to better respond to their situation in the way that Christ would want them to respond. It is allowing them to be truthful about their own realities that opens them up to the truth of God.
Yes we ought to speak truth, but let’s also speak it with kindness and love, so that people may be open to the truth, and eventually encounter the Truth as a loving Person (not as an imposing doctrine) through our kind words and actions.
Originally posted on Instagram.