Monday, January 7, 2019

Devotionals for the Heart: Kindness


Loving God by loving my guy
A devotional by Jessica Brodie

I have a cute little game I play with my husband, only I’ve never actually told him about this.

Every day, I try to out-do him in kindnesses. You know, those small things that make everyday life go more smoothly: I empty the dishwasher. If the gas tank is low and I know we’ll be trading cars tomorrow, I fill up the gas tank. I tell him he is hands-down the most handsome guy in the world (he totally is).

The basic theory is that I try to one-up him in generous love. After all, I’ve figured out that when I win, he wins.

What’s been really neat about this unspoken game is that he does nice stuff back for me and tries to out-do me in generous love and little kindnesses.

It's a win-win circle.

One thing that is so great about a God-centered marriage is that we know love is one of the Lord’s top two commandments, and one huge way I can love God is by loving my husband.

And there are so many ways to love him! I can love him with my words, with my service, with my time. I can love him with honor and respect, just like he loves me with honor and respect. I can love him by loving his family (that’s super-easy, because they are incredible). I’m a busy woman. I work full-time running a Christian newspaper, I’m a wife, I’m the mom and stepmom of four kids, I’m active at church and in my small group, and I’m an author, blogger, freelance editor, and writing coach. I might scrimp on doing my hair (love me some ponytails). I might not vacuum as often as I’d like.

But one thing I don’t scrimp on: loving my guy.

The apostle Paul had some helpful things to say about a God-centered marriage and a godly life. He urged us to “submit to each other out of respect for Christ” (Ephesians 5:21, CEB). Submit means yield, surrender, capitulate. It echoes what Jesus himself taught us in the Gospel of Matthew, that if someone slaps you on the right cheek, “You must turn the left cheek to them as well” (Matthew 5:39). If they take your shirt, “Let them have your coat too” (Matthew 5:40). If they make you go one mile, “Go with them two” (Matthew 5:41).

Out-do each other in generosity. Yield. Love. Surrender. Model wild, extravagant sacrifice.

Model the example of Jesus.

This works in a God-centered marriage. My husband loves me and honors me, too. He doesn’t hurt me physically or emotionally. He wants what’s best for me. I do the same for him. It’s a two-way street.

Whether you are married or not, try my Out-Do in Kindness Game in your own life. Try it with strangers (pay for someone’s meal in a drive-thru or their toll on the turnpike). Try it in your home. Try it at church. Hold the door for people. Let someone else go first.

When others win, we all win.

We’re all in this together.

~*~
Author Bio:
Jessica Brodie is an award-winning Christian novelist, journalist, editor, blogger, and writing coach and the recipient of the 2018 ACFW Genesis Award for her as-yet-unpublished novel, The Memory Garden.

She is also the editor of the South Carolina United Methodist Advocate, the oldest newspaper in Methodism.

Learn more about her fiction and read her blog at http://jessicabrodie.com/shiningthelight.

33 comments:

  1. Really well said. A little kindness goes a long way!

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  2. Such acts of kindness and service, that are done so joyfully, are fruits that flow out of a loving heart. A transformed heart that is overflowing with God's love has such power to influence others, relationships, communities, and ultimately God's kingdom.

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    1. Amen! May our hearts overflow with God's love so we can all transform the world through God's holy power! :-)

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  3. Jessica, I loved this blog post! I thought the chocolate one was good, but this one...hands down, wow!
    What a topic! I'm always so pleased when I see someone that takes this THIS seriously. When we love like that-and awww at the love in the photo, by the way- we are doing just that. Showcasing the love of God.
    I've heard it one too many times. Love God first. Love man. All God's commandments are all entwined with these.
    How simple!
    God bless.

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    1. Thanks, Jessica!! I agree wholeheartedly... LOVE.

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  4. Dear Jessica,

    I like your idea about trying to out-do your husband in kindness :-)

    It's all about setting up win-win situations.

    You're an active woman, Jessica :-) being engaged in all those activities.

    Sincerely,
    Edna Davidsen

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  5. An excellent post and so timely as I try to lavish love on my sick hubby today. Blessings to you and your husband, Jessica!

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    1. Aw, I hope your hubby feels better!! That is hard. Thanks, Joey!

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  6. Whenever I step out of my comfort zone to be kind to a stranger, I'm never disappointed with the outcome. The world may scoff at our Pollyanna mentality, but they don't know what they're missing!

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  7. This is so sweet Jessica - reminds me of Romans 12:10 "Outdo one another in showing honor."

    Such a great example. I think my husband wins in this category. Poor guy.

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    1. Aw, thanks, Christina!! Bless you (and your sweet husband).

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  8. I love this. A good reminder of how we can shine Christ’s love on our spouses.

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  9. Doesn't life get easier when we turn some things into a game? Great post! God bless!

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    1. I agree completely! Even cleaning the house is more fun when it's a game, ha! Thanks, Nancy, and God bless you, too.

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  10. Your husband is a fortunate man! Marriage is NOT about 50/50, is it? 100/100 works much better. A worthy goal. Thank you for showing us how it's done.

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    1. Thanks, Jory!! You are right -- definitely 100/100!

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  11. Just beautiful! I love this post. Thank you for sharing the joy you find in loving your husband. Excellent Christ-like perspective for marriage!

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  12. Hi Jessica. I love this! One of our pastors said that the respect-love dynamic in the bible is actually more like a circle than a line where the man is on top. She said that he loves, you respect and you just around and around, and around. This reminds me of what she said. What a beautiful connection you two seem to have.

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    1. Thanks, Afi! And I love thinking of that dynamic as a circle. What a great idea. God bless you!

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  13. Great plan! It is so true that the way we love them will strongly affect the way they love us! Encouraging post. Thanks.

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  14. It was a great reminder to be kind to not only our spouses, but others as well. Acts of kindness go a long way in our marriages, friendships, and even with strangers. Loving people, even when they are not at their best, is the only thing that we can do to soften hearts.

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    1. I agree completely! It's amazing to see people blossom through love.

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  15. I am going to try this idea to outdo my husband with loving acts of kindness and then maybe move on to do the same with others. Great idea

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    1. Have fun with it, Yvonne!! I know I do. :-) God bless you!

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  16. What a cool idea and a wonderful demonstration of God's love. I'm totally stealing this...I mean doing this.

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