Kindness is defined as the quality of being friendly, generous, and considerate. The synonym of “kindness” is “gentleness.”
“Whoever Brings Blessing Will be Enriched” Proverbs 11:25
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Both kindness and gentleness are on the list of the none virtues enabled by the Holy Spirit in us (Galatians 5:22-23).
Galatians 5:22-23 lists the following virtues as the Fruit of the Spirit:
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.”
In January of 2016, Michel knelt in front of me at Perimeter Church and asked me to be His wife.
In May of 2016, I walked down the aisle and took Michel’s last name.
In September of 2016, Michel filed for a divorce and said that all he wants is to be an IronMan and compete in Kona.
I was so angry!
Anger vs lovingkindness.
Anger is not invalid or bad. It warns us that either someone else or we ourselves violated our blueprint of standards and expectations for how tings should be.
You see, we all have blueprints for how everything should be in life. And in addition to our perfect blueprints for life’s circumstances, we also carry around manuals for people.
We know exactly how people should be.
My manual for Michel had all my expectations clearly defined. But Michel didn’t follow my manual. I was angry and I withdrew.
What about God’s manual for me?
He clearly defined in the Bible how He wanted me to be. But I wasn’t like that. I violated His standards for my behavior pretty regularly.
Was God angry with me? Was He withdrawing, too?
““In an outburst of anger I hid my face from you for a moment, but with everlasting lovingkindness I will have compassion on you,” says the Lord your redeemer.”
So, God did feel anger… and He did withdraw.
God was able to feel for me the same anger I felt for Michel… Yet, after His initial withdrawal, my redeemer chose to give me His lovingkindness.
I wasn’t Michel’s redeemer, yet I knew one thing. If I love Christ, the goal of my life is to develop Christ-like character qualities.
What was Christ saying here?
He was saying: I got angry with you because you violated my standards for you. And so I hid my face for a moment, aka withdrew. I then had compassion for you. I showed you kindness.
So, compassion and lovingkindness were inseparable.
I asked myself: what would it be like to feel compassion for Michel so that I could feel lovingkindness toward him?
Bitter, angry, and raging.
In my own shoes as an abandoned wife whose husband chose IronMan instead of marriage, I felt bitter, angry, and raging.
I wanted Michel to choose me. I wanted to go back in time and undo the “I do.” I wanted to change my response to “Heck no!” on January 31st, 2016 when Michel in his red shirt knelt in front of me and proposed.
I was bitter because I felt victimized by Michel. I felt completely taken advantage of and lured into this marriage by deception.
Yes, I did have anger, rage, and bitterness in me. And it was no surprise to God!
Ephesians 4:31-32 says this:
“Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.”
The reason why the Bible would say “get rid of” something is because God already knows that we have it to begin with. That verse validated the normality of me having bitterness, anger, and rage.
Furthermore, it offered a solid plan of action for how I was to rid muself of those feelings: choose kindness and compassion.
Interestingly, the verse tells us how kindness and compassion would be originated – through forgiveness.
Forgiveness??? What? No!!!
That was my initial reaction. And then I looked closely and saw that I wasn’t asked to forgive Michel because of my acceptance of his actions.
I was asked to forgive Michel DESPITE what he did to me and BECAUSE of what Jesus did for me.
forgiveness poem with Venus
Jesus died for my sins and I was forgiven. Out of gratitude for my salvation, because Jesus forgave my wrongdoings, I was called by Him to forgive Michel.
Envious, boasting, and proud.
I wanted to love Michel. I wanted to forgive him. I wanted to feel compassion for him. Only Michel was mistreating me every day. He was cheating on me. He was openly humiliating and rejecting me.
I was envious of the IronMan bicycle who got to spend 60 hours a week with my husband. Why do I say “who” when I’m supposed to say “that?” Because Michel had a relationship with the bicycle as if it were a human woman.
I was boasting about my presence in our marriage and commitment to Michel. I was proud feeling than I was better than Michel in my own eyes.
Envious, boasting, and proud, I began studying what God said about love and how to love.
1 Corinthians 13:4 says this:
“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.”
Here was my word ”kind,!” Just exactly what I wanted to be. And the only way to be that was to stop being proud, boasting, and envious.
I realized how blind I was all that time. I thought that for me to be able to love Michel and be kind to him, he needed to change. God opened up my eyes and showed me that I needed to change.
I needed to learn how to obey God’s teachings about love and kindness.
This Biblical poem about love was born.
“How to Love” 8/23/17
You asked us to love one another.
You taught us the details of love.
Instructions you gave us are thorough,
But knowing them isn’t enough.
To love one another with kindness
Means dying to flesh every day
And also surrendering our blindness,
While choosing in Spirit to your word obey.
To love one another with patience
Acceptance requires and yielding,
And selfless forgiving in all situations,
In prayer each other uplifting.
You told us that love is not proud,
Not arrogant, it’s rather humble,
And so you requested each other we honor,
In hope persevere we, when stumble.
Your orders of love are high-maintenance,
But trusting in you, I surrender.
I’m learning to love with kindness and patience
To glorify you in your splendor.
I knew that to become kind, I would absolutely have to experience compassion for Michel.
And so I tried.
Lovingkindness and compassion.
Experiencing compassion for someone requires us to refocus from our own pain and think about their hurts to understand their wounding, broken-heartiness, and pain.
I began thinking about Michel’s childhood and his hurts of enduring rejection and abandonment. I thought about my time with him at the IronMan he did right after our wedding.
images from the IronMan 5/22/16
I remembered thousands of people waiting to cheer on Michel and shouting “Michel, you can do it!” and “Szabo, Szabo, Szabo!” and “Go, Michel, go!”
It was everything he didn’t have growing up. He chose IronMan over our marriage because it filled the void in his heart from those early years.
Michel played the song called “The hall of fame” up to 11 times a night on repeat.
hall of fame song
He desired fame. He wanted his name to be known. He wanted to be accepted and admired. And I felt compassion for him. I felt compassion for Michel and wept from being overwhelmed by sadness.
I knew that I could never give Michel what thousands of cheering IronMan fans can give him. I remembered how he told me: “… and here’s my bicycle, my other wife I cheat on you with…”
I felt compassion for the pain and hurt of a 38 year old man who felt real feelings and relational attachment toward an IronMan bicycle.
I felt compassion because from that place of relating to Michel as a “wounded fellow human” instead of “my evil husband” I saw how much he was hurting. And I was hurting, too.
I saw how incapable I was of giving Michel the fame he so desired. Even though I wholeheartedly wanted to make Michel happy, I couldn’t. I did my best. But it wasn’t good enough.
I could never give Michel the fame and public administration IronMan can give.
What if Michel did his best, too? If my best wasn’t good enough, how do I know for sure that what I was getting from Michel was not his best? And that realization led me to experiencing compassion for Michel.
I expressed my feelings in this poem-prayer.
“My husband for a reason” 9/16/17
God, I’m praying for my husband:
Can you please renew his mind?
Give him heart that’s made of flesh and
Make him faithful, wise and kind.
God, I pray that you draw close him –
To disciple be of Jesus,
Trusting that you truly chose him
To my husband be for reasons.
For salvation his I’m praying
And for healing of his wounds.
At your feet my love I’m laying –
His uprising me eludes.
Bless him, Father, give him peace.
He’s been suffering too long.
From his past please him release
And fill his heart with joyful song.
That breakthrough enabled me to practice kindness: the quality of being friendly, generous, and considerate. All thanks to Jesus revealing to me that the one needing to change was actually me.
Do you believe that in Christ you can practice kindness?
If you do, memorize the Biblical affirmation below and practice it often. It’s based on all the Bible verses discussed above.
I am kind
I’m kind, tenderhearted, forgiving, and acceptive.
No anger, no slander, no bitterness, and no being deceptive.
I’m compassionate, thoughtful, empathic, and gracious.
No mean words to others and no being minacious.
How will your relationships be different now that you decided to choose kindness?
Share with me in the comments below so that I can cheer you on.
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Anna Szabo is the founder of Online Discipleship For Women, a Christian ministry committed to alleviating suicide among women globally by sharing hope in Christ. Anna teaches how to create a joyful life by embracing God’s word based on her own journey of faith and fortitude.
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