Law of Kindness
I want to be mentored and learn more about this thing called the law of kindness. There are repeated times when I am confronted by the fact that even though the information that I want to share with others may be ever so correct and needed, my lack of a spirit of kindness, gentleness and caring causes many to discount or even resent what it is that I am trying to convey.
I could easily launch into a long explanation of why I am this way at this point in my life. I could rehash the lack of examples in my life, the effects of legalism, the empty, aching chasms inside my emotional makeup that cause me to unconsciously be too forceful in my dealings with others. But I have done that for years and it does little but to educate me as to where some of the roots of my problems stem from.
But what I really want and need is a radically new perspective, new motives, increased passion for caring about other people's hearts and more sensitivity. As I describe all of these things they sound very familiar, like the list of what is called the fruit of the Spirit. So I suppose that what I really need is to be filled with the Spirit much more than I am at this point.
I am running into more church conflicts that have been around for decades as I become more involved in the local church. I have never been one to relish conflicts or confrontations and would just like to walk away from them rather than stay involved and try to resolve them. But I have also learned that to avoid conflict at all costs has its own high price to pay which is usually much more painful in the long run than seeking to work through it. It creates a cost of lost growth in maturity, lost opportunities to form deeper bonds between people, increased tension that can last for many years and increased levels of suspicion and general apathy.
These are things that I have come to resent because they rob me of the very relationships that I need to grow and thrive and mature myself. So what I am learning is that the only path to real growth is to face my fears, move carefully toward potential conflicts instead of running away from them all and most of all to keep in very close touch with God seeking to get His perspective and a right spirit as I seek to bring more harmony, peace and kindness into volatile situations.
Some might call this diplomacy, but I have a level of discomfort with that word. In my mind, diplomats are trained in the art of compromise and trading concessions for gaining advantages. Somehow this seems to go against the grain of God's way of doing things, though for very different reasons than most conservatives would believe. It seems that the stark black and white picture of reality that conservatives like to paint never accomplishes the results that the kindness of God brings about. I grew up in that culture of stark contrasts and strong opinions and I slowly began to discover that there was nearly always a third alternative that was much more God-like and in harmony with the real truth about His ways than the insistent demands of religious zealots.
I have been learning that from God's perspective the spirit with which we deal with each other far outweighs the effects of most of the actual decisions we make about the externals. Yet most of us consider the externals as the arena of most importance and tend to not pay much attention to the effects that our disposition has on those involved in a dispute. We are caught in the trap of believing that religion revolves around the habits and rituals that we do in church more than the condition of our heart and how we feel and believe about God's attitude towards us.
I have observed that very few people actually think about focusing consciously about God in real time with their heart during worship services. We become very protective of the symbols and traditions we have created, the rituals and routines we perform or the style of music that we happen to prefer. But I increasingly long to connect with others who are truly hungry to encounter God on an intimate level in the company of like-minded worshipers while still being accountable to the intellectual truths as revealed in the Bible.
This is where I find myself right now but still lacking the natural skills of kindness when it comes to talking about these things with others, especially those who feel threatened by my ideas. My natural reaction to people who feel threatened by my ideas is to find ways to get around them and play politics to get my own ideas into practice. But at the same time I realize that this will only put me into the position of playing their games, and that never brings about the unity and love and repentance that is so needed in the body of Christ. I may be able to get my ideas into practice that way, but I do not want to do so at the expense of misrepresenting the sweet Spirit of God in the process.
So here I am back where I started. I feel a deep need, an emptiness, a decided lack of training and nurturing in the area of dealing with differences while maintaining a spirit of kindness in the atmosphere around me. I realize that part of this problem may be due to the abundance of fear in other people's hearts when they feel their control is being threatened or their opinions are being questioned. Fear is a very powerful tool to manipulate others and try to get one's own way, but it is the worst spirit to use to try to bring the Spirit of God into His church. An atmosphere of fear precludes the nurturing of an atmosphere of love and kindness. Fear has become all too familiar in Christian circles and is used widely to impose what we think is God's will on others. But fear is not a commodity used in heaven because fear and love are mutually exclusive.
I am all too aware of the presence of much fear in my own heart. It is a symptom reminding me of my lack of trust and real belief in the greatness and ability of God to take care of me in any situation. I deal with all sorts of fears on too regular of a basis and because of that I am seeking to uncover the roots of these fears to receive healing from God. I want to become free of this tyranny of fear for I know that these are the strings by which demons can manipulate and infect my spiritual life and perspective.
Father, teach me both in mind and heart the ways of kindness. I need Your peace today very much. I need to experience the fruit of Your Spirit in my life in every situation and every relationship. Please continue to heal me, transform me, cleanse me and empower me to reflect You. Fill my heart with the law of kindness that emanates from Your heart. Make me a truthful and faithful witness that You are really good, kind and involved in each of our lives. Do this for Your reputation's sake.