How do you feel about doing business with or working with a person who is kind? Doesn’t kindness in a friend or someone else draw you to them? To this day, I remember a teacher from childhood because of her kindness to me. She has a life long special place in my heart.
In the midst of our childhood squabbles, my mother used to admonish my sister and I, “Be kind to each other.” Sometimes we can find the grace to be kind to strangers but not in at home to our spouse or family members.
Tonight I talked with a friend of mine who shared this bit of wisdom with me. “My husband and have made a covenant with each other to speak to each other in kind tones. It is not always easy and sometimes we have to walk away from each other and say, ‘I can’t talk with you right now until I can calm down because I won’t be very kind.’ Then we wait until we can talk nicely to each other.”
She continued. “There are always going to be conflicts in a relationship but when you can commit to speaking to each other in kindness, it is so much easier to take what the other has to say. Sometimes we think just because we are married to someone that we can treat them however we want. We forget that when God tells us to love Him first and then be loving to others He means our spouse and family as well.”
She paused and then went on, “Every year, we do something proactive to pour into our marriage. We go to a marriage seminar or read a marriage book. A good marriage doesn’t just happen, it takes work. But I would say that decision to speak to each other in kind tones has been one of the most significant decisions we have made.”
For some, it may not be realistic to make the commitment to always be kind and you can at least make an effort to treat your family members with more respect. When you don’t, apologize and make things right.
You can change a relationship by being kind. During her teen years, one of my grown daughter tried my patience. I decided to experiment with some different responses; to let go of minor things as well as be a little more positive, kinder and considerate. I listened to her more before responding. Surprise! As I changed my approach, she changed too.
When you decide to change in a positive direction, often, it impacts the other person for the better. Sometimes it’s hard to be kind when you have not been treated with kindness. It is more of a challenge and may not come easy. However, you can decide to reverse that pattern of behavior and make a conscious choice to be kind.
Ask God to help you and give you the support you need. He will. If you fall down, pick yourself up and try again. New behavior takes time. It will be worth the effort. Your reward will be more peace and favor in your relationships.
When you clothe yourself in kindness, you put on finer clothes than designer labels. People can’t help but notice and be drawn to you.
“Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.” Colossians 3:12 (NIV)