Acts of Kindness
“You’re mean!” exclaimed a little kindergartener. This is what I heard from a very frustrated five-year-old girl in the computer lab the other day. Surprisingly, usa her frustration was not directed toward a schoolmate, friend, or teacher (God forbid), but instead toward an uncooperative computer. I had to laugh, but I agreed with her – the computer was “mean.” It refused to help her; it was so conditional in its response; it just sat there and refused to respond until she did all the right things. That computer had no sense of kindness about it; it made no effort to alleviate her stress. So, she sought help from another source, and a loving computer teacher, Mrs. McClain (my wife), arrived on the scene just in time to help her. Mrs. McClain changed a few commands here and there, patted the little girl on the head, and said your work looks wonderful. The little girl’s face brightened and joyfully she moved on with her work until the bell rang.
Acts of kindness can never be overdone when raising children and they can be accomplished in what you say and do for your children. Without consistent acts of parent kindness, children can quickly be emptied of the emotional and spiritual reservoir they need to survive this world. A picture of a child without consistent parental acts of kindness is like an empty water bucket in the family garden. The bucket is intended to be filled so it can contribute to the garden (family). Without regular parental replenishing, the bucket (your child) may only collect dust, dirt, and rancid rain water (weedy peer influence).
Acts of kindness (filling the bucket) permeate the Scriptures. They are noted in abundance from Genesis to Revelation. As an example, Jesus verbally forgave and affirmed Peter (John 21:17) even though he denied Him three times (Luke 22:59-62). Essentially, He said, “Peter you are forgiven, you are forgiven, you are forgiven. Now go and fulfill the mission I have called you to. You have always been my disciple; you are my disciple; you will always be my disciple.” (Matthew 16:18, Matthew 28:19-20)
Filling a child’s bucket with encouraging words of forgiveness and affirmation is a critical part of parenting, but it must be blended with action. The old saying “Actions speak louder than words” is true. It is one thing to say you love your son or daughter, but another to serve them accordingly.
Jesus was the master of both word and deed. Aside from affirming words, He was a model of servant action. Without proclamation, He humbly washed His own disciple’s feet (John 13:5). When Peter angrily severed the priest’s servant’s ear, Jesus responded quickly to the man’s travail and with a healing hand (Luke 22:51). In addition, He did this in the midst of His most trying and self-absorbing moments on earth (Matthew 26:51-52), but the kindness of Jesus always overshadows every moment. He, along with a host of other Scripture accounts, serves as a guide for parental kindness.
Acts of kindness toward children must continuously be implemented by Christian parents. As Christian parents in a fallen world, you cannot avoid the fight being waged against your children. Your acts of kindness are a necessity in building the loving character you so desire for your children. Without it, they may become an empty, unused water bucket in the family garden.
Buy a bucket from the store; one that will hold a good quantity of water. Put it outside for awhile and let it collect dirt, dust, and rain water. At an appropriate time, take your children out to clean the bucket. The cleaning may be compared to getting rid of anger, revenge, and bitterness. Then, have your children fill the bucket with fresh water. This compares to acts of kindness they can perform for others. (Acts 13:52, Galatians 5:22-25).
During the time you are waiting for the bucket of water to evaporate and collect the predictable dirt, have them make a list of acts of kindness. Use I Corinthians 13 as your text. For example, what act of kindness would represent one who “bears all things,” “believes all things,” “endures all things,” “hopes all things”? What act of kindness reflects one who is “not provoked,” “not long suffered,” or one who “does not brag”/”is not arrogant”? After you have made a good list, post it on a wall somewhere. Return to the bucket and clean it out again. This time though it must be filled by acts of kindness. Every time one of your family members completes an act of kindness, record it on a piece of paper and put it in a basket. Then have them take a cup of water for each act and pour it into the bucket. The goal is to keep the bucket full. Discuss the family’s acts of kindness at the end of each week…Sundays would be ideal.
John 21:17 He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me?” Peter was grieved because He said to him the third time, “Do you love Me?” And he said to Him, “Lord, You know all things; You know that I love You.” Jesus said to him, “Tend My sheep.”
Luke 22:59-62 After about an hour had passed, another man began to insist, saying, “Certainly this man also was with Him, for he is a Galilean too.” But Peter said, “Man, I do not know what you are talking about.” Immediately, while he was still speaking, a rooster crowed. The Lord turned and looked at Peter. And Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how He had told him, “Before a rooster crows today, you will deny Me three times.” And he went out and wept bitterly.
Matthew 16:18 “I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it.”
Matthew 28:19-20 “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”
John 13:5 Then He poured water into the basin, and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel with which He was girded.
Luke 22:51 But Jesus answered, “No more of this!” And he touched the man’s ear and healed him.
Matthew 26:51-52 And behold, one of those who were with Jesus reached and drew out his sword, and struck the slave of the high priest and cut off his ear. Then Jesus said to him, “Put your sword back into its place; for all those who take up the sword shall perish by the sword.
Luke 22: 51 But Jesus answered and said, “Stop! No more of this.” And He touched his ear and healed him.
Acts 13:52 And the disciples were continually filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit.
Galatians 5:22-25 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law
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