It was a grueling season of slamming doors, elevated voices, and hot, sticky tears.
One morning, after another long and heated discussion with my husband, I was exasperated by our inability to come to a resolution. I was confused. I was tired. And I was frustrated.
What I really needed was the listening ear of a friend. But who would I call? My mother was on vacation, and everyone else I knew was at work.
Not having anyone else to reach out to, I found myself dialing the number of an old friend–one I hadn’t talked to in an exceptionally long time. I didn’t know if she’d be willing to listen to my situation. As I listened to the phone ringing on the other side, I prayed she’d pick up and be ready to lend an old friend her ear.
Thankfully my friend was home. She answered the phone and—God bless her—for two hours she patiently listened to every complaint and frustration I had about my situation. Her kindness refreshed my tender heart.
As we were saying our goodbyes, I overheard one of her children in the background ask her if they were still going to the movies. My heart filled with horror as I listened to my friend’s whispered reply, “Not today. The movie has already started.” I felt terrible! Instead of going to the movies with her children, she had to listen to me pour out my woes. I never meant to inconvenience them. The last thing I wanted to do was take up her family’s precious time, so I immediately apologized for ruining their plans.
After I apologized, she lovingly said, “It’s Okay. You needed me. There will be another movie tomorrow.”
When the significance of what she had done hit me, I was humbly blown away. My friend was a pitcher full of kindness. She wasn’t upset or angry that I had altered their plans. I will never forget the outpouring of kindness she lavished on me that morning when she selflessly gave up her afternoon at the movies with her children to comfort me.
My friends’ selfless sacrifice reminds me that sometimes we need to put the needs of others before our own. What can we learn from her example? Let’s take a closer look at three powerful characteristics demonstrated by my friend.
When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them because they were confused and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Matthew 9:36 NLT
She Was Compassionate and sympathized with my need.
Although my friend was busy, she compassionately recognized my pain. She heard the longing in my voice and acknowledged my need for help. My friend was keenly sensitive to my situation and didn’t let her busy schedule get in the way of helping a friend in need.
What does busyness have to do with meeting the needs of people? Busyness dulls our senses to the things around us. We can get so busy with our own lives that we neglect to see the needs of those around us. When we walk around with the busy blinders of life over our eyes, we fail to notice when someone needs our help. To remain sensitive to the needs of others, we have to take the blinders off so that we’re aware of what’s going on around us.
She Was Merciful and tenderly extended forgiveness.
It’s tempting to get frustrated when the needs of others collide with our wants, desires, and plans. I don’t know if my friend was tempted to get angry with me or not, what I do know is that she didn’t let the inconvenience of the situation harden her heart towards me. She was merciful when I intruded on her family’s personal time. Rather than getting angry and irritated with me for my intrusion, she tenderly extended forgiveness when she helped me.
Negative emotions tend to get in the way of positive ones. When we allow our anger and frustration to dominate our hearts, it inhibits us from extending kindness and goodness to those who need it. What do we do if our anger is preventing us from helping others? If our negative emotions are getting in the way of us helping someone, we need to take a step back and calmly ask God to help us rein them in. With God’s help, we’ll be able to peacefully let go of those emotions and joyfully help those in need.
She Was Selfless and acted to meet my needs.
Extending kindness and goodness often requires that we give up something. If we’re honest, most of us probably don’t like to be inconvenienced. It’s not easy to drop everything and put the needs of someone else above our own. Especially when it requires that we give up our time and personal resources.
To help those in need, we may not be able to always do what we want, get what we want, or go where we want to go. My friend was willing to selflessly extend me kindness, despite what it cost her. She didn’t turn a blind eye or try to brush me off. Out of the goodness of her heart, she unselfishly chose to put aside her personal wants, desires, and plans so that she could minister to my needs. Her kindness gave me the support and encouragement I desperately needed during a difficult time in my marriage.
My friend’s selflessly devoted heart challenges me to open my eyes, ears, and mind to the needs of those around me. There are people—our family, friends, acquaintances, and strangers—all around us that are hurting. They are in need of a loving hand in their lives. They need to know that they aren’t alone. They need to be reminded that they really do matter; they aren’t forgotten.
Will you compassionately recognize their need and tenderly extend them kindness? Will you lovingly minister to their needs? Sacrificing our wants, desires, and plans are hard. But isn’t it worth it if it meets a need? When we act on the opportunities to help those around us, we are partnering with God to share His Goodness with the world. Let’s open our eyes, ears and our hearts to the needs of those around us and selflessly love on them!
Thank you for joining me. I have enjoyed learning more about the fruits of Kindness and Goodness with you! This article concludes our study on the Fruits of Kindness and Goodness. This has been a part of my current series, Sweet Smelling Fruit—Cultivating a Heart that Lives by the Spirit. If you would like to read past articles from this series click here.
What’s next? We will pick back up with our series in October and take a closer look at the Fruit of Faithfulness. Is this your first time here? I invite you to join us as we dig in to learn more about the Fruits of the Spirit! Subscribe to my weekly newsletter to stay up to date on future posts and when new freebies become available.