Definitions and Synonyms of Kindness from Lexicon and Concordance by E.W Bullinger
active beneficence in spite of ingratitude
benevolence, benignity, philanthropy
Greek word for Kindness
The ancient Greek word for kindness is chréstotés. It has the connotation of “meeting needs”. I find this really interesting because it means that kindness is not just being polite to someone but it is also meeting their need. When I tapped my husband’s brain for his interpretation of chréstotés, here was his thoughtful response, “Ithas the basic sense of excellent, useful, serviceable and adapted to a purpose; in other words, the shades of meaning for the Greek word ‘chréstotés’ involve practical and useful service, not just kindly feelings as we might think from the English word ‘kindness'”.
Favorite Verse on Kindness
“Do not let kindness and truth leave you; Bind them around your neck, Write them on the tablet of your heart”. Proverbs 3:3
Final thoughts on Kindness
I usually think of kindness as generically being nice to someone else. But it goes much deeper than this. There is an element of empathy where we feel what the other person is going through. When we extend an act of kindness, we are connecting on a level that draws us into the world of the other person and this expresses the notion “I understand”. It is not always possible to completely relate to what other people are going through but empathy and generosity are certainly facets of kindness.
The person who is receiving the act of kindness may not always be deserving or grateful. This can turn us off from wanting to help further. But kindness overlooks weaknesses in others and is gracious towards someone despite their flaws. More and more, I see God’s grace towards my own failings and I wonder where I would be if he did not extend his kindness and mercy towards me daily.
Today as I was having a walk outside with my daughter, I heard the very welcome and familiar sound of the Canadian Geese migrating back to Canada after a long, bitter winter. Their customary “V” formation never ceases to amaze me and the beautiful sound of their voices reminds me that the cold will soon dissipate and the warm weather will be upon us. As my daughter and I meandered around the streets not far from our house, I enjoyed seeing people come out of “hibernation”. Children were playing and laughing outside, adults were unpacking their garages, while others were promptly packing up their cars with summer tires, ready to go remove their winter tires as soon as possible. As I looked at all these people, my mind came back to the true importance of today. The day we remember Jesus being crucified on a cross for our forgiveness.Thank you God for the ultimate sacrifice for us and for your loving grace towards us no matter our weaknesses or faults.
“Jesus said “It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit” John 19:28.
It’s been a beautiful sunny day here, with clear blue skies and “balmy” -3C temperatures! I took my baby girl for a walk along one of our favorite paths that we have not been on since the Fall (except for a few spontaneous sled rides in the winter when the road was passable). It felt great to commune with nature and pray, even with the cow smells exuding from the neighboring farms! It also allowed me to reflect on some great conversations I have had with two of my brothers and my mother in the last few days about my dream to pursue medicine. They reminded me that despite the fears I may have of taking the plunge with medicine, it is God’s grace that will strengthen me and allow me to succeed. I realized that I have been trying to control every aspect of my life, often subconsciously. I needed to know the outcome from A to Z with no unknowns in the middle. But of course, that’s not possible and the only way to go through life without being paralyzed by fear is to trust in God and his infinite goodness. Whereas my view of life is linear, God has the aerial perspective and already knows exactly how this story will unfold. I feel so liberated knowing this! And I am excited for what the future holds!
Today I was reminded of the beauty of slowing things way down and just enjoying the little things. I woke up and decided that I was going to get better at living a less harried life and just taking things one day at a time. Aside from the critical things in life that need some form of planning, it would be nice to live each day as if there was no tomorrow. I think we would enjoy each day so much more, even with life’s challenges. The bible says that we need not worry about tomorrow and that if God can take care of the birds, how much more so will he take care of us. So even though today consisted of our son throwing up for most of the day, our baby resisting her morning nap, and a poop explosion that ended up all over baby and mummy, I decided not to get frazzled about it. And I chose not to be anxious that I couldn’t be studying for the MCAT, since my kids needed me most of the day. I decided instead to focus on the simple, special moments, like my son’s amazement at a beautiful spider navigating its web, “Wow! Look! God made it!” he shouted. Or my daughter trying to crawl across the living room floor on her bum, with a sense of accomplishment. Or simply the glistening smiles that radiate from both kids when mummy or daddy walk into the room, never mind that they have seen us just 5 minutes before. Each day is meaningful in some way. As my studies for the MCAT get into full swing, I will simply do my best and remind myself that gaining acceptance to med school will not make me or break me. I have so much to be grateful for already. Getting into medical school would just be an added blessing to my already very blessed life.
This week, I have been reminded about the concepts of mercy and grace. For instance, my husband and I graciously accepting the fact that our toddler woke up at 5:30am the one morning that the baby decided to sleep in till 7:30am (conspiracy anyone?). Or having mercy on the cat the night my husband leisurely walked into a puddle of cat pee during a midnight bathroom break. But on a serious note, I have been reading an interesting book on grace and how God loves us no matter what we do (or what we don’t do!). In other words, there’s no impressing God! He loves us automatically, no questions asked. It hit me that I often try to do things to be right with God. Did I read my bible for long enough today? Did I pray in the correct format? Did I sing the most appropriate songs? Was I kind to somebody today? Was I generous? These are all great things of course, but I realized that these should come naturally from having a close relationship with God as his Spirit works in me. They shouldn’t be things that I force myself to do or that I have to check off on a list. I realize just how much mercy and grace he extends to us each day and how free I am to then do the right things because he has given me that choice. My priority then is simply to rest in him so that I may get to know him and learn to depend on him. When you love someone, don’t you try your very best to spend time with that person and get to know them? In the same way, if I love God, I need to spend time with him. I am to love him with all my heart, soul, mind and strength. There is no strict rule about how I need to spend time with God. He is everywhere so I just need to be conscious of his presence. I often feel guilty for messing up and it dawned on me that we can never really measure up. It’s only because of God’s mercy and grace that he continues to put up with our failings, a love so unconditional, nothing can contain it. So the next time I groan at the pitter patter of little feet into my bedroom at 5:30am or I get mad at the cat for peeing on the bathroom floor yet again, let me be reminded to have a little mercy and grace, just as God does towards me, each and every day.
On those days when I wonder whether I can really make it into medical school, I reflect on how far God has brought me and I gain reassurance that if this is His will for me, it will all work out accordingly. I got my driver’s license later in life (in my late 20s) and I remember feeling overwhelmed as I was taking my driving lessons, thinking how could I ever master a moving vehicle? But three driving tests later, I finally got my license and driving has become as easy as riding a bike (although I still cringe when I have to parallel park!). Then there was the time when my husband and I were trying to start a family and I wondered if I would ever be able to have a baby since I had endometriosis and had miscarried once already. But here we are with two adorable children who I sometimes just stare at in amazement, contemplating how blessed I am to have received these beautiful gifts from God. So in my mind, getting into medical school may seem like an insurmountable task (like my driving and having a baby) but if God can get me through other seemingly difficult situations, I know he can do it again!