Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Mid-Week Message - The Importance of Kindness

"Kind words are like honey - sweet to the soul and healthy for the body."  Proverbs 16:24 (NLT)

Custer, my fourteen year old poodle, has developed a cough.  He has no other symptoms.  He eats and drinks well, plays and seems to feel just fine.  The veterinarian tried some expensive allergy medication for him and, while it helped a bit, he still had the cough.  Rather than continue to give him the medication, which he hated taking, I decided to investigate other remedies.  In searching for suggestions and researching online, I came across the idea of giving him honey a few times a day.  We started with the honey two days ago and I must admit he is coughing less than he was, especially at night, and the great thing is that he loves it!  

I can remember having to take medicine when I was a child.  Any time I had a cough, I was given one of two cough syrups.  One was Creomulsion, which was my first choice because it tasted sweet so it was easy for me to take.  The other was Formula 44 which had a much harsher flavor.  Unfortunately, we usually only had one or the other in the house at any given time and it seemed to me that we had the Formula 44 most often.  I took it, but I didn't like it.  

Just as sweetness is more pleasant to the tongue, so are kind words easier to the soul.  I can remember being called in to my boss's office occasionally.  Not knowing what to expect, I would get very nervous.  Had I done something wrong?  Was I about to get in trouble or lose my job?  For some reason, my mind always went to the worst outcome first.  I won't lie.  Sometimes I was met with words of criticism, or even anger.  Those were hard moments to take.  However, sometimes I heard praise for doing a good job, or that I was getting a raise.  You know which words I preferred to hear.  

Today's world is hectic.  We all seem to be overly busy or carrying heavy burdens and this can cause us to forget to take the time to choose our words carefully and wisely.  We don't take time to stop and think about how we prefer to be addressed.  Jesus admonishes us to "do unto others as you would have them do to you."  This applies not only to the actions we take but also to the words we speak.  

Today I stopped for coffee and as I spoke with the barista I thanked him for being kind to me.  His response was that he tries to be kind to everyone but there are certain customers who are not kind to him.  When I left I thought about how sad it is that kind words can be rare some days.  Shouldn't kindness be our first reaction?  Our habit?  Each of us is fighting a battle of some sort and each encounter we have needs to be made with that in mind.  The way we treat another individual has the power to make their day better or worse.  

Think back to the times when another person has blessed you by their presence.  What made that moment memorable?  How did it improve your day?  As we think of those times, let's purpose in our hearts and minds to be the ones with praise and kindness on our lips so that we can lift others up.  Just as honey is pleasing to the tongue, so our attitudes toward those around us can bring joy to their souls.  God bless.

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