In the times when I was suffering the most, there were two things that helped me through: the Word of God and the kindness of others.
The first time I got my heart sincerely broken was in freshman year of high school. I forget what event had occurred, but I remember that it resulted with me crying my eyes out in a bathroom stall during class period. I heard a knock on the stall door and a concerned voice ask, “Hey, are you okay, hon?” When I opened the stall, I found a sweet high school girl on the other side. She handed me a tiny plastic stocking filled with candy, asked me what was wrong, and then – in a public school bathroom – prayed over me. Two weeks later, I ran into her at lunch break, and she asked me how I was doing, genuinely concerned.
That is the sort of kindness that sticks with you. That is the sort of kindness that gives you strength.
Kindness isn’t just doing something nice for someone else, although that is certainly wonderful on its own and is highly, highly encouraged. But kindness penetrates a person’s soul when it shows concern for their well-being. Sometimes saying, “How are you? How can I pray for you?” is the kindest act there is.
When was the last time you treated your spouse with that sort of kindness? Doing your wife’s taxes or doing your husband’s laundry are wonderful and kind acts, but that is not the sort of kindness that is gives strength to their souls. What do they need? What weighs against their heart? What are they struggling with? Do you know? Do they know that you care about those things?
And as for single individuals: are you showing that kindness to your brothers and sisters in Christ? Do you show that kindness to those who don’t know Christ? Do you call those who are going through a rough time and ask how you can pray for them? Do you have sincere concern for their well-being?
I adore the stories of Jesus feeding multitudes of people. Jesus cared that His people were fed physically, but even more so, He cared that His people were fed spiritually. In those times of deep suffering, we all need that spiritual strength. We all need the type of kindness that goes beyond a physical need, and meets us at our core.
Verses to Meditate On
A man who is kind benefits himself, but a cruel man hurts himself.
Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.
Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant,being born in the likeness of men.