As kindness is a fruit of the Spirit, how can Christians better demonstrate this in our daily lives?
Do No Harm, But Take No Crap…
Viewed through the lens of one made in the Image of God (Imago Dei), that is a Christian value. Christian practice historically accepts offense without complaint as a demonstration of obedience and piety, as did Christ. However, I—as a woman descended from enslaved Africans raised in the U.S., and as a child of God—find American Christianity and its history to be at odds with intentions for my good. As I work to decolonize my faith, I no longer rely primarily upon the American practice of Christianity to work for my good, as I thought Romans 8:28 meant. Rather, I pray and seek God-breathed understanding regarding “turning the other cheek.” As taught, is this practice a calling, or meant to do me harm?
Turning the Other Cheek…
does not call us to be subject to abuse in the name of discipleship. Might it mean turning away, practicing “the peace passing all understanding” alongside other fruit of the Spirit, including gentleness and self-control?
2020 was challenging. I practice boundary setting as a way of surmounting it. Boundaries are biblical. They are dividing lines, creating the necessary space between us and those around us. As we strive for gentleness and self-control, well-established boundaries allow us to be kind and protective, both of ourselves (and the God within us) and those intending, intentionally or otherwise, to do us harm.
“Touch Not My Anointed. You Have No Right.”
This declaration kindly declares and asserts my boundaries, spoken or unspoken. Such boundaries define my right to protect myself against the intent to do me harm. The enemies of my sacred peace and boundaries are my enemies. Not certain? But the Bible tells us so. The prophet Ezra, writing in 2 Chronicles 20:15 (NKJV) promoted boundaries,
“And he said, ‘Listen, all you of Judah and you inhabitants of Jerusalem, and you, King Jehoshaphat! Thus says the Lord to you: “Do not be afraid nor dismayed because of this great multitude, for the battle is not yours, but God’s.”
Not my battle? That is a prophetic defining of my boundary. Amen, and so it is.
I Practice My Kind of Kind As Follows,
“To the enemy of my peace, I am aware that you have chosen me, those I love, those who surround me, as objects of your wrath, but we call you by your name and know you for who you are…”
Do no harm, but take no crap… As a child of God made in the Divine Image, I strive to practice gentleness and self-control. I trust God, but as I often say, “I ain’t Jesus.” That means that when it comes to an attack on my peace, I will protect it with God’s help, by any means necessary. I fight dirty when it comes to my peace. I may bite, kick, and throw rocks and punches. In a supreme act of obedience, it is so much better to turn my cheek and my back, and walk away.
Preserving and Protecting One’s Peace Is a Choice. Beware of the Peace Snatchers.
To the question “as kindness is a fruit of the Spirit, how can Christians better demonstrate this in our daily lives?” my answer is this:
Be grateful for every gift in every moment and be joyful in your expression thereof.
Make every effort to practice compassion and empathy.
And to the Enemies of Our Sacred Peace, Fair Warning…
We will not deign to battle you. We will not fight. To fight you is to acknowledge you as a worthy adversary. You are not worthy. Though this is warfare, this battle is not ours. Our sacred obligation is to honor God within us. When you mean to cause us harm, you demonstrate that you do not love us, no matter what God you claim to serve. We hold no space for your sinful assaults.
May God go with you, as you go away from us.