Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Kill 'Em with Kindness

Most people's natural reaction to someone who offends them in some way is to show them hatred.  We tend to give them the cold shoulder, say rude or derogatory comments toward them, or do hateful things to the person who offended us.  Are any of those things going to cause that person to wake up one morning and think, I am really sorry I hurt that person.  I never should have done those things.  Look at the way they have been treating me; I must have really messed up.  No way!  At least not in my experience, and not with most people.  I am sure there is an exception somewhere, but most people are going to fight back, or not fight at all, fight or flight.  If we are rude or hateful toward someone, they are either going to come out swinging, or run away and neither reaction is the one we truly want to elicit.

Usually, when we are hurt, we want the other person to apologize, to realize and admit they were wrong, and make it right with us.  I have often heard the phrase "Kill 'em with kindness" used to illustrate how we should treat others who we consider to be our enemies.  While I understand the kindness part, the whole "kill 'em" part doesn't seem so biblical.  I don't think Jesus wants us to be kind to someone just so they will realize that they did us wrong and come apologize to us.  This life is not about us, so everything we do, as Christ followers, should be about lifting up our Lord, which means we need to react to situations that may get us riled up "in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ" (Philippians 1:27), instead of in a manner that would please our flesh.  Jesus commands His followers in John 13:34-35 to "love one another.  As I have loved you, so you must love one another.  By this, all men will know that you are my disciples if you love one another."  Nowhere in those statements is a malicious or selfish motive behind loving others.  And Jesus made no mistakes--He did not distinguish between loving our enemies and our nonenemies.  He said to "love one another"--that means everyone.  After all, no one on earth is really our enemy, anyway.  Ephesians tells us that "our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms" (6:12).  So, then the arguments and fights we experience on earth among ourselves is just a distraction from Satan.  Satan would rather us be fighting with one another because then we're not winning the spiritual battles we have the power to win and we're not experiencing victory in our walks with Christ.

This has been a lesson God has had to prove to me over and over again.  I must realize that people's paradigms are different from mine, and there is always another side to a story or situation.  I must not be so easily angered because the situation that would normally offend me is not one-sided.  I must step into the shoes of the other person, understand that though I may not see things from their perspective, that they are probably not acting out of malice.  They probably did not do the thing that upset me with the purpose of upsetting me.  People usually make decisions based on what they feel is the best decision at that time with the information they have.  If they offend me in the process, it was probably accidental, which is why sometimes I am the only one who is upset and it seems the other person has no idea that they even offended me.  So, while I am wallowing in hurt and self-pity, the person who caused that pain hasn't thought anything about it because they didn't do it on purpose.  So, I must believe that everyone means well, continue loving them in spite of what my flesh wants to do, and give the rest to God.  I must trust Him with my feelings, the situation, and the outcome.

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