Fruits of the Spirit: Kindness

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.” – Galatians 5:22-23

[Part five of nine in a fruits of the spirit series. See the others here >> Love Joy Peace Patience]

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“Have courage, and be kind.” This simple phrase is repeated over and over in the classic Disney movie Cinderella.

from Child at Heart
Easy to say in a fairy tale, but what does that mean in the non-Disney, real-life world? How can we be kind even when we don’t want to be or think we need to be?

Live Like Molly

On February 21st, 2015, one of my dear friends Molly was taken from this world far too soon. The tragic decision of one man to drive under the influence took her life, and critically injured her best friend Emily.

Watching my close family friends go through the sudden loss of their daughter and sister was quite possibly the worst kind of grieving I’ve ever experienced.

Even two years later writing this, I’m reminded of the pain and anger that sometimes resurfaces in my heart.

I’m reminded of the pain that one decision caused my family. (Nothing can prepare you for seeing your parents mourn a friend’s daughter like that.)

I’m reminded that even that man who took my friend’s life deserves kindness.

While I struggle to reconcile my feelings of grief with kindness, Molly’s parents are the epitome of faithful. They’ve just been hit with (hopefully) the hardest trial of their lives and yet, they use it to point others to Jesus.

Every year on her birthday, August 26th, her family and friends have used the hashtag #livelikemolly to commemorate what a sweet, kind soul she was. They felt that without her, the world would have just a bit less kindness. But, instead of her birthday being only a painful reminder of who they missed, they encouraged everyone to do one random act of kindness in her honor.

The past two years, social media has been flooded with examples of people buying others’ coffee, treating a friend to a home cooked meal, and leaving anonymous gifts for coworkers, family, or even strangers. What a testament to Molly’s kind heart and her faith in Christ that motivated her to do these things!

ABC 30 Article
Although I’m thankful for this movement of kindness, it made me wonder–where is kindness every other day??

Social media on any given Tuesday is full of instant judgements, images of perfection and pride, and harsh words spoken against others who don’t agree.

Kindness is defined by my trusty friend Google as “a pleasant disposition and concern for others”.

How often does your Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or Pinterest reflect this?

So here’s something for you. In case you couldn’t tell during the fourteen times you checked today, (*gulp*) social media has such a “me” bias.

“I ‘liked’ this” -or- “Look how many people commented on my funny meme.”

What if, instead of being “me” focused, we used social media as a platform to “have courage and be kind”?

We could get into healthy debates about politics and still leave as friends.

We could brighten someone’s day.

We could show someone how much they are loved.

We could give someone grace when they least deserve it.

We could share a recipe or tip that makes a busy mom’s life just a smidge easier.

We could change someone’s life.

Chocolate Covered Strawberries

Think about the last time someone went out of their way to do something unexpected for you.

My example was today. I texted my best friend at the crack of dawn asking for prayer. Not uncommon for us to do. But today, a box of chocolate covered strawberries showed up at my work unannounced.

Holla. Praise Jesus for “those friends” if you know what I mean.

That (literally) sweet gesture meant the world. Not because I hadn’t had lunch and maybe ate half of them instead. Not because strawberries in California are perfectly in season right now. But because she cared to go out of her way, paying for a surprise treat and showering me with her prayers and support.

This is my challenge to you.

Go out of your way to do something for a friend.

I can’t promise that they will even notice, or give you a thank you, a shout out on Insta, or anything else of the sort. But that’s not the point. Give without expecting anything in return.

I choose to remember the grace that Christ gave us when he died on the cross, forgiving ALL OF HUMANITY for their sins. ALL OF US. Even the gossipers like me, the selfish like me, the fearful like me.

Replace gossip with encouragement.

Truly listen to someone.

Serve others in love.

Go–be yourself, be kind, and #livelikemolly

❤ Stephanie

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