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.
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.