The quote by Eric Hoffer caught my eye – “Kindness can become its own motive. We are made kind by being kind.” In a sense, he was suggesting that kindness becomes easier the more we desire to be kind and the more we actually practice kindness.
I guess there is a “muscle memory” tied to most everything – memories stored in our brains that are much like a cache of frequently enacted tasks. A form of procedural memory that can help us become very good at something through repetition. In other words, if we want to be kind, we should repetitively practice kindness. And as followers of Christ, we should want to be kind because Scripture tells us to be kind to one another (Ephesians 4:32), and that kindness is an evidence of the Holy Spirit residing within us (Galatians 5:22).
But, what does it mean to be kind? Unfortunately, the English language doesn’t contain a term that accurately captures the meaning behind the Greek word Paul chose. At its root is the idea of being useful or profitable – a sort of “useful goodness.” It’s an inward compulsion that works its way to the surface in practical, need-meeting ways.
For the Christian, that inward compulsion comes from the prompting of God’s Spirit. But, we must surrender to that prompting and get off the couch if kindness is going to be put into “useful goodness.” Surrendering to God and dying to self are never easy – but they can become easier the more we practice!
Do you want to become kind? Practice kindness. –Dave
Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. (Ephesians 5:32)
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