Yesterday, I restarted a 40-day challenge that I began in 2010: “The Love Dare.” If you’re just joining me, The Love Dare is a book of daily dares that require you to examine yourself and the way you show love to other people (mainly, your spouse, as this is a book intended for married people. I’m doing it anyway as a single person, and you can too!) To get “The Love Dare” Daily Emails in your Inbox, just enter your email in the top right hand corner of this page where it says “Subscribe!”
During Day 1, “Love is Patient,” I was reminded that patience is reacting to people and situations in a wise way and an acknowledgement not only of other people’s humanity, but also of my own. In spite of my sin, Christ is patient with me, waiting for me to repent and live righteously. Because of that unmerited grace, I was reminded that I must show the same grace and patience to others, allowing God the opportunity to work in them and bring them to repentance just as He brings me to repentance.
I reflected on the way I react to people and situations, meditated on patience scriptures, and envisioned situations in which I had not shown patience to others. But I didn’t stop there. Under the wise counsel of the best Jedi Knight I know, my dear uncle, I took those situations where I had not shown patience and re-envisioned myself reacting to them with godly patience. I was able to not only forgive myself for acting inappropriately, but also I was able to train my mind to act patiently in the future. This practice provided both liberation and healing and was an awesome way to kick off the re-up of my Love Dare. I also began a full-body cleanse from Dherbs.com, made a kale, broccoli, strawberry and banana smoothie and drank charcoal water as a part of that 7-step cleansing process. It will be an interesting 40 days! On to Day 2: Love is Kind.
Two years ago when I first did this dare, I had to redo Day 2 because I had screwed up my first attempt at a day of kindness. I don’t know that I consider myself a “kind” person even today, which is the reason I began the Dare in the first place. My tongue is very sharp. What I used to deem “calling it like I see it,” was, in retrospect, just plain unkind. Though I do feel I have improved over two years ago, I acknowledge this as a weakness, I continue to struggle with and I’m ready to move out of this ungodliness and into a kind spirit.
Today’s Scripture: “Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.” Ephesians 4:32.
Today’s Lesson: “You will never learn to love until you learn to demonstrate kindness.” As The Love Dare authors say: “Kindness is love in action. If patience is how love reacts in order to minimize a negative circumstance, kindness is how love acts to maximize a positive circumstance. Patience avoids a problem; kindness creates a blessing. One is preventive, the other proactive. These two sides of love are the cornerstones on which many of the other attributes we will discuss are built.”
The authors describe kindness as having 4 parts: 1) Gentleness, 2)Helpfulness, 3)Willingness, and 4)Initiative. Kindness is never being unnecessarily harsh with each other and bending over backwards to share a hard truth with loved ones in a way that will be as easy for the person to hear as possible. In short, it is speaking the truth, or “telling it like it is,” as I’m famous for saying — but doing it in love. Kindness is also the way you meet another person’s needs right at the moment the need is made known and being eager and available to meet that need. It’s also being proactive and figuring out what a person’s needs are before he/she voices the need and providing for that need, irrespective of whether you feel the person deserves it or earns it and irrespective of whether you’ll be rewarded for that action. As the authors say, “The kind [person] will be the one who greets first, smiles first, and forgives first. They don’t require the other to get his or her act together before showing love. When acting from kindness, you see the need then make your move. First.”
Today’s Dare: Say nothing negative again and do something unexpected to show kindness to someone.
Here are some scriptures on kindness I’m meditating on today:
Proverbs 19:22 – What is desirable in a person is kindness, and it is better to be poor than a liar.
Luke 6:27-31 – Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. If someone strikes you on one cheek, turn to him the other also. If someone takes your cloak, do not stop him from taking your tunic. Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. Do to others as you would have them do to you.
Luke 6:36-38 – Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful. And do not judge and you will not be judged; and do not condemn, and you will not be condemned; pardon, and you will be pardoned. Give and it will be given to you; good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, they will pour into your lap. For by your standard of measure it will be measured to you in return.
I John 3:19 – We love, because He first loved us.
“Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.” Ephesians 4:32
Colossians 3:12 –
Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience,
Proverbs 11:17 –
Create in me a clean and kind heart, oh God, that I may serve you. Lord, you know I struggle with kindness and I thank you for this struggle. Now I know that every act of kindness I do is only because You are at work in my heart and in my life. Thank you for this opportunity to get closer to You and meditate on Your holy scriptures. Cut up my sharp tongue and evil thoughts. Hep me to accept that what I’ve been passing off as “wit” is just a way for me to glorify myself instead of glorifying You with my obedience, patience and kindness to Your children. Make me over. Make the ruling desire of my heart to reflect Your love and to lift You up so that others may see patience and kindness in me and be drawn to You and give You the praise and honor You are so worthy of. In Jesus’s name, Amen.
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