Kindness ~ A gift to ourselves

Kindness is key3Last week I declared October to be the month of kindness! I wrote about God’s kindness towards us and we saw the word kind is defined this way: Kind, gracious, kindhearted, kindly – imply a sympathetic attitude toward others, and a willingness to do good or give pleasure. Kind implies a deep-seated characteristic shown either habitually or on occasion by considerate behavior: a kind father. (Dictionary.com)

This week I want to ask the question; how kind are you to yourself? Our flawed and prideful nature can be quick to make excuses for our mistakes and weaknesses. But how many of us actually have a humble, healthy view of ourselves? One that is kind.

It is difficult to see ourselves correctly until we first understand how God sees us. Last week we saw that God is kind toward us, willing to do good, sympathetic, considerate. Psalm 103:13-14 says:

As a father has compassion on his children,
so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him;
for he knows how we are formed,
he remembers that we are dust.

I love that, “he remembers that we are dust.” He understands that just as we’re catching on life is over, it’s a breath. He is considerate to our plight. Not that he doesn’t expect us to walk in holiness, he provides all we need to live a godly life. But he understands how hard it is for us to live against our nature and according to his perfect one.

I have to confess often I am not kind to myself. Sometimes I’m lazy, or excuse my behavior, self indulgent even. But that’s not the same as kind.

Being kind means recognizing what I am, my limitations and strengths, and summing myself up accurately. It means seeing myself as God’s child. Forgiving myself when I need it. It means believing God has forgiven me when I ask. It means celebrating my successes in a healthy way. It means caring for my body. It means living up to God’s expectations, which are right and good, and not other people’s. It means backing away from the sharp edge of comparison’s blade.

Maybe you have messed up big time, or you think you have no value. Or maybe you feel just fine until you look around and compare yourself to everyone else. Repeating your flaws or mistakes is not extending kindness to yourself. Driving yourself to perfection isn’t kind. Your children, family, and friends are observing. Those broken words, repeated over your life, will teach them that if you can’t be kind to you it’s safe to assume you can’t be kind to them either. Children will learn those broken habits from a parent.

The kindness we are able to receive from God, and extend to ourselves, will have a powerful impact on our relationships. That’s a principle of community. How we walk with God affects others.

Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. Colossians 3:12-13

If God has called us to clothe ourselves with kindness and treat our brothers and sisters with such character, I think it’s safe to say he would expect us to extend that attitude to ourselves. If we can’t embrace the goodness of God for ourselves, it will be hard to extend it to others.

I’ve seen time and again bitter women making others miserable because they have been unable to grab hold of God’s forgiveness and grace in their own lives. They can’t be kind to others because they haven’t learned to be kind to themselves.

I regularly fight the broken tape playing in my head that says, “you’re not good enough, you are uneducated, you make no money, you aren’t a good mother, you aren’t wanted, you don’t matter, you’re a mess.” I think I will hear those words until I die. That in and of itself isn’t a sin. The defeat comes when I don’t counteract those words with truth. God has said that I’m forgiven, accepted, redeemed, loved, wanted, equipped, grafted in, sung over, empowered, indwelt by his Spirit, victorious, and destined for a glorious eternity!

I am most kind to myself when I shut out the lies of my scarred heart, broken sin nature, and a twisted society, and instead recite the truth over myself. Until I do that I can’t recite the truth to others when they need it, and they are going to need it.

Accepting God’s kindness and being kind to ourselves are the first steps to being kind to others.

Do you have a hard time being kind to yourself? Does that affect the way you treat others?

Let’s pray:
Father, it can be hard to be kind to ourselves. But that grieves your heart because you love us. Will you help us grab hold of our worth in your sight and treat ourselves with kindness? Thank you for setting the standard of love. We’re grateful. Amen.

{Next week we’ll talk about extending kindness to others.}

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5 thoughts on “Kindness ~ A gift to ourselves

  1. When I started seeing myself as God sees me, I started learning to be kind to myself – to like myself – and allow me to be who I was created to be – and when I started seeing myself as God sees me – I think I stopped trying to shape who I was and just let him – and that’s when everything started to fit together, work together – and I found a life within full of peace and joy that spills out! Your post is such a liberating message – one all women need soak in! Shalom, Beck!

  2. Pingback: Kindness ~ A gift for others | The Accidental Mama

  3. Pingback: Kindness ~ A gift worth receiving | The Accidental Mama

  4. Pingback: Someone Kind | The Accidental Mama

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