40 Days of Challenge – Day 2 Introspection and Kindness
Posted by truthoughts on May 13, 2013
40 Days of Challenge
Introspection and Kindness
Proverbs 9:10 (KJV) “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.”
Our childhood experiences, especially in the family, greatly affect how we view and respond within our adult relationships. Though the process of maturing in a healthy way, we must peer back and divide the truth from the fiction in regard to our perspective. As we sift through events in our past, we can begin to replace the poor foundations of our relationship understandings with a more Godly perspective.
For example, when I was 14 years old, through some traumatic events in my life, I became depressed. Feeling depressed caused me not to want to attend school. As a result, my mom, being a single mother, had a difficult time raising me. She worked multiple jobs at the time, and when she was home and should have been resting, we were arguing or playing the silence game. There came a time when she had had enough and decided to contact my father, so I could live with him.
During this phone conversation with my father, he gave me every excuse as to why he could not take me in. Due to his response to me, I was left feeling rejected and unloved. This theme of feeling rejected and unloved, repeated many times, in may scenarios through the years, as I am sure multitudes can relate.
The foundation which was built, because of events like these, was held together by all sorts of garbage. I needed to tear up that destructive foundation, and create a clean, pure, and true foundation. Through this process, I realized that it was not really about me, that my father did not want me to come and stay with him. It was rooted in his own insecurities of feeling inadequate to care for me. My father had never cared for his kids other than a few weekends or summer vacations a year. He enjoyed the “fun dad” image, but was more than ready to let someone else care for the larger issues pertaining to child rearing. As a child, I could not understand this aspect of his perspective, but as an adult, I can.
I will not lie to you, this is a painful process. It can also be time consuming, depending upon how many and how deep the poorly structured foundations go. However, it is very worth the effort, tears, and time. One realization which you must accept is that though you may change and grow, those around you may not. In fact, as discussed in Day 1 “Expectations and Patience“, they will more than likely actively engage you to oppose this change. The reason why they may react in this manner is because your change places a mirror before them. This mirror shows them that the strongholds they have allowed to dictate their identity and direction, can be cut and changed.
By our sin nature, we are lazy. We rely on excuses and blame to prevent us from moving forward. It is guaranteed that those closest to you will do everything in their power to hold you back. This is why Scripture tells us that a prophet is not accepted where he is from (Luke 4:24). Those who know you best, and the longest, know your dirt. They have a hard time seeing a new you and will continually attempt to push you back into the mud with the rest of those wallowing in it; however, you are not a swine, but of royal standing in the Kingdom of Christ. You do not belong in the mud. So, before you allow anyone to return you to the mud you were delivered from, remember this:
Matthew 7:6 (KJV) “Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you.”
As with human relationships, when originally exposed to the Christian faith, we encounter foundations of fallacy; hence the many denominations. If you look deeper into every denomination, you will also notice that even within themselves, they do not hold to all of the same doctrines. With this, you can see that as human relationship foundations must be torn up and relayed, so do the flawed philosophies laid by fallible man. The way to do this is to go straight to the source, God’s Word, to see what is His true and pure foundation of the faith.
2 Timothy 2:15 (KJV) “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.”
You may ask, “How can I know if I have created a different god to follow, than the true Jesus?” If you ask yourself the following questions, take note of your reaction, which will reveal the truth.
(1) Do you desire to read God’s Word in full, rather than selected verses by others?
(2) When someone refers to, or quotes Scripture, do you research to see if it is accurate?
(3) If the verse is not accurate, does this upset you?
(4) If you are shown Scripture that reveals your preconceived notion of the Lord as inaccurate, are you willing to give up your opinion and conform to His Word accordingly? Or do you feel offended, and reject it with any excuse in order to maintain your identity and lifestyle?
Luke 9:23 (KJV) “And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.”
Luke 14:26-27 (KJV) “If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple. And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple.”
Colossians 2:8 (KJV) “Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.”
Before we continue, I suggest praying to the Lord now to quicken you in His wisdom, knowledge, understanding, discernment, and direction. Also that He will reveal suppressed memories and foundational errors in a way that brings you the proper perspective, while guiding you to healing, growth, and restoration in your human relationships (past and present), and most importantly, with Him.
Now, with this in mind, attempt to answer the following questions in one sentence: (Note: You may do this as many times for as many situations as you desire, it is encouraged to do so. Also, use human relationship circumstances as well as those pertaining to your relationship with the Lord.)
(1) In regard to what has been discussed above, what incident comes to mind from your past? Who was there? When was this incident? Where were you?
(2) What happened? (Literally try to place yourself in this situation, to remember as much as possible)
(3) What has the Lord revealed to you regarding how you behave in your current relationship(s) as a result of this event?
(4) What possible perspectives (interpretations) exist pertaining to that event? (For example: In my story that I shared with you regarding my father, my interpretation at the time was that I was being rejected and was unloved.)
(5) Write a prayer of release from any unhealthy habits (negative behaviors) in thinking and actions that you have developed as a result of this event.
Ephesians 4:32 (KJV) “And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.”
The action of love is through kindness. As love reacts through patience, kindness is the forerunner of love. Kindness is the initial action, patience the reaction.
Proverbs 3:3-4 (KJV) “Let not mercy and truth forsake thee: bind them about thy neck; write them upon the table of thine heart: So shalt thou find favour and good understanding in the sight of God and man.”
If you were to narrow the aspects of kindness down to four points, they would be as follows:
(1) Initiative: Acts of kindness are not prompted by outside sources, but rather spurred on by inward love and compassion. Kindness takes the first step, regardless of how deserving the recipient may appear.
(2) Gentleness: Kindness prompts gentleness and tenderness toward others. Even when faced with difficult situations or personalities, the kindness of love guides us to go out of our way in order to treat others with compassion through gentle speech rather than harsh words and tones.
(3) Helpfulness: Kindness is an act of being helpful through a servant heart. Wives seek to be a helpmate to their husbands, unconcerned by their individual rights and standing. Husbands are moved to understand the needs of their wives, and fulfill them, even if it means putting their own needs aside.
Matthew 20:27 (KJV) “And whosoever will be chief among you, let him be yourservant.”
Ephesians 5:25 (KJV) “Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it”
(4) Willingness: Submitting your willfulness for the sake of another is a very high act of kindness through love. When you are faced with an argument, instead of causing damage through insisting you are in the right, submit yourselves one to another by taking time to first listen and understand the other person. By being willing to give of yourself and your own desires for another, you show the greatest act of love. This is what is meant by the Lord telling us we need to take up our cross daily and follow Him. Our cross is our old self, desires, wills, dreams, ideas, and the like. We are to give up ourselves in order to fully follow Him. We see above in Ephesians 5:25, that husbands are to love their wives in this manner, by giving themselves up for their wives. Both wives and husbands are to follow the ideal of becoming a servant to each other, and by doing so, they become witnesses to each other and those around them of the greatness of God and of His love.
In most circumstances, it is kindness that brings people together for a lifelong commitment toward each other. Over time, each may begin to take the other for granted, causing kindness to waver. In Proverbs 31:26, we read that this blessed woman has kindness in her tongue. When you speak to those around you, are you blessing them with kindness or cursing them? Despite the actions and reactions of those around you, make the choice today to speak and think toward others with kindness and pure love. Meet every harsh word with a blessing. You may see that the blessings spoken in love to a stone heart, can melt the walls seen as solid and indestructible.
Proverbs19:22a (KJV) “The desire of a man is his kindness”
Proverbs 23:7a (KJV) “For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he”
In the same manner, attempt to do at least one generous act of kindness to your spouse or loved one. In addition to this, do something for God. You can choose to share His Word with another, or help someone in need to show His love.
At the end of the day, take a moment to reflect on what you have learned and done. What did you discover? Come up with some ideas on how to implement this in your daily life. You may be surprised at how things begin to change around you for the better. Even in negative situations, we are told in Scripture the following:
Romans12:20 (KJV) “Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head”