Disarming With Kindness

Ruth Davidar Paul   |   February 19, 2019 

My daughter is a sweetheart. Being her mother doesn’t make me the most objective of observers, I know. But honestly, I look at her sometimes and wonder where she got her sweetness of nature and temperament.

She goes out of her way to be nice to everyone around her. She feels terrible when others fight and tries to stop it any way she can. She apologises profusely, even if she’s not in the wrong, just to ensure there is peace. And she’s only five years old, so it’s difficult explaining to her that she need not!

However, because she is sweet, unfortunately, she is bullied easily. What is it about niceness in others that brings out our inner meanness? I wish I could teach her to be tough: to stand her ground and not allow others to push her around. Seeing or hearing her get put upon by other children doesn’t seem to faze her. But brings out the worst in me – anger at the other kids and frustration at my own child for being “too nice”! This invariably makes me behave unkindly – and unfortunately, my daughter faces the brunt of my unkindness.

It is no excuse, but one of the reasons I’m less kind to her sometimes is because I can see certain aspects of myself in her responses. I know that I feel the need to please everyone, even if it means being a doormat. I’ll say sorry and be accommodating, preferring to please others above my own preferences.

Isn’t it strange that what I accept in my own nature, I find difficult to handle in my daughter? I’m afraid that she’ll be taken advantage of, that people will ride rough-shod over her, that she will get hurt. And I can’t bear to see that happen! My urge is to protect her constantly – especially from herself. Yet that is not how God loves us. When He wants to correct us and change us, He does it in kindness and love, not harshness or meanness. He draws us to Himself with gentleness and compassion.

Being kind does not mean that the path will always be uneventful; yet it does mean that in the midst of cruelty and nastiness, there is a steadfast, unchanging Person who speaks the truth, compassionately and kindly. There is authority and strength in this aspect of the Fruit of the Spirit. Kindness is not insipid or ineffectual – it is powerful to disarm one’s opponents. I have seen it in my daughter – kindness flows out of her actions and words and truly does defuse situations many times.

In Ephesians 4:32, God commands us saying,

“And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.”

Perhaps instead of trying to vainly “protect” my daughter, which is a very human response, I can learn a lesson or two in being kind from her. What’s wrong if we get taken advantage of, if people ride rough-shod over us, if our feelings are hurt? Jesus experienced all that and still holds His arms open in kindness. Can we do any less?

 

 

Photo by Andrea Tummons on Unsplash

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Ruth Davidar Paul is a freelance copy editor and content developer, who loves rummaging through used books stores and collecting old books. Apart from filling her home with overflowing bookcases, she enjoys deep conversations, jigsaw puzzles, painting, and daydreaming. She currently lives in Chennai with her husband Abhishek and their children Abigail, Jordan, and Amy.

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