Kindness is Action

 

Seize Every Opportunity to Show Kindness

By Rick Warren — Jul 21, 2017

“Never walk away from someone who deserves help; your hand is God’s hand for that person. Never tell your neighbors to wait until tomorrow if you can help them now” (Proverbs 3:27-28 The Message/GNT).

We’ve been looking at lessons about kindness from the story of the Good Samaritan in the Bible. First, the Good Samaritan opened his eyes to see the need around him. Then, he listened to the injured man’s pain and sympathized with him.

Then, we see that the Good Samaritan seized the moment: “Going over to him, the Samaritan soothed his wounds with olive oil and wine and bandaged them” (Luke 10:34a NLT). He didn’t wait. He didn’t delay. He didn’t procrastinate. He did what he could at the very moment he saw the need.

Love is something you do. Love doesn’t just say, “I’m sorry for this guy. Isn’t it a shame? Isn’t that too bad?” Love seizes the moment.

The Good Samaritan did several things in that moment: Some translations say the he “stooped down.” In other words, he got on the man’s level. He didn’t pretend he was superior, and he didn’t talk down to him.

Second, he used what he had. He dressed the man’s wounds with wine and oil. Why? That’s what he had on his donkey. The wine worked okay because it’s alcohol. It’s an antiseptic. The oil worked okay because it would be soothing to the man’s wounds.

Then it says the Good Samaritan dressed the man with bandages. Where did he get the bandages? This guy’s not a doctor. He didn’t have a first aid kit. And the hurt man has been stripped naked, so he didn’t have any clothes. The bandages are the Samaritan’s own clothes.

The Good Samaritan did what he could with what he had at that particular moment. Proverbs 3:27-28 says, “Never walk away from someone who deserves help; your hand is God’s hand for that person. Never tell your neighbors to wait until tomorrow if you can help them now” (The Message/GNT).

The world is full of wounded people. Do you ever wonder how many people you walk by every day who are wounded? Maybe they’re not wounded physically, but they’re wounded emotionally. They’re wounded spiritually. They’re wounded financially. And they need your love. They need your kindness.

Don’t wait for better conditions. Don’t wait until it’s more convenient. Don’t put off what you know you should do for someone today. God will be with you as you seize the moment.

PLAY today’s audio teaching from Pastor Rick>>

Talk It Over

  • Reflect on your schedule. What may be in your schedule that keeps you from being able to seize opportunities to show kindness?
  • Think of someone in your life who you know is hurting. What can you do today to show kindness to that person?

Listening

 

Kindness Begins with Listening

By Rick Warren — Jul 20, 2017

Share each other’s burdens, and in this way obey the law of Christ” (Galatians 6:2 NLT).

If sensitivity to others’ needs begins with your eyes, then sympathy for their hurt begins with your ears. You have to learn to listen! The better listener you become, the more sympathetic you will be.

It’s not enough to just see someone’s need. You must also feel that person’s emotions. You must sympathize with the pain. The Bible says in Luke 10:33b that when the Good Samaritan saw the robbed and beaten man on the side of the road, “his heart was filled with pity” (GNT). First, his eyes kicked in. Then his ears and his heart kicked in, and he sympathized with the man in need.

Sometimes all it takes to show kindness is just listening. In fact, advice-giving can be counterproductive to kindness. Joe Bayly wrote in his book on grief, The View from a Hearse, “I was sitting, torn by grief, and somebody came along and talked to me about God’s dealings of why it happened, of hope beyond the grave. He talked constantly. He said things I knew were true. But I was unmoved, except to wish that he would go away. And he finally did. Then another one came and sat beside me, and he didn’t talk at all. He didn’t ask me any leading questions. He just sat beside me for an hour or more, listened when I said something, answered briefly, prayed simply, and left. I was moved. I was comforted. I hated to see him go.”

Sympathy involves the ears. Listening is a form of kindness.

Sympathy meets two of your basic needs: the need to be understood and the need to have your feelings validated. When you’re hurting, it’s comforting to know that you’re not crazy, that what you feel is normal, and that other people have felt it before.

The Bible says, “Share each other’s burdens, and in this way obey the law of Christ” (Galatians 6:2 NLT).

What is the law of Christ? It’s called the Great Commandment: “Love God with all your heart, and love your neighbor as yourself.” Do you like people to sympathize with you when you’re hurting emotionally, physically, or spiritually? Of course. The Bible says do the same for others.

PLAY today’s audio teaching from Pastor Rick>>

Talk It Over

  • What does it mean to actively listen to someone?
  • Why is it sometimes difficult to listen instead of talk to someone who’s hurting?
  • How can you sympathize with someone who is going through something that you’ve never experienced?

Kindness

If You Want to Be Kind, Open Your Eyes

By Rick Warren — Jul 19, 2017

“Look out for the good of others” (1 Corinthians 10:24b NCV).

Kindness always begins with the eyes — the way you observe the world and are sensitive to the needs of other people.

In Luke 10:33b, it says of the Good Samaritan, “When he saw [the man’s condition], his heart was filled with pity” (GNT). Notice that “he saw.” That is the starting point. If you want to learn to be a kinder person, you’ve got to change the way you look at the world. You’ve got to become more observant of the needs around you.

Hurry is the death of kindness. If you’re going to learn to be a kinder person, you’ve got to slow down! When you’re always distracted with other things, you don’t have time to be kind.

If you were to take a cross-country trip, there are several ways you could get from one side to the other. A plane would get you there fastest, but you wouldn’t see much of the country. You could take a train or even a car, and both would give you opportunities to see even more. But if you really wanted to take in as much as possible, you’d walk.

That’s because the slower you go, the more you see.

The Bible says, “Look out for the good of others” (1 Corinthians 10:24b NCV). The first step to kindness is to ask God to give you spiritual radar to be on the lookout for people around you who are hurting emotionally, spiritually, and physically.

Maybe you were born with this gift. You automatically sense when people around you are in need. It’s not that you’re more spiritual than the rest of us. You’re just wired that way. If that doesn’t describe you, then you’re like me: You have spiritual ADD. It’s easy to get distracted. It’s easy to be task-focused. It’s easy to not be sensitive to what’s happening around you.

But if you care, you’ll be aware. Galatians 6:8 says, “The person who plants selfishness, ignoring the needs of others — ignoring God! — harvests a crop of weeds. All he’ll have to show for his life is weeds!” (The Message). It’s not always easy to see the needs of other people, especially when they’re on the other side of the road. But it’s the starting point of kindness.

PLAY today’s audio teaching from Pastor Rick>>

Talk It Over

  • What are some intentional ways you can slow your life down so that you can more easily see the needs of people around you?
  • What people do you pass every day who are sometimes more difficult to notice? When you keep your eyes open, what new opportunities do you see to help one of those people?
  • How is ignoring the needs of others also ignoring God (Galatians 6:8)?

Pride

Current Teaching Series

40 Days of Love 

By Rick Warren — Jul 18, 2017

         “‘God opposes everyone who is proud, but he is kind to everyone who is humble.’ Surrender to God!” (James 4:6b-7a CEV).

One of the most important ways you can practice courageous humility is to surrender your plans to God. However, this is what we usually do: We make our plans without even consulting God. Then we pray and ask God to bless our plans, which we didn’t ask him to be a part of. We assume that our plans are his will. Then, when our plans don’t happen on the timetable we want or they don’t happen at all, we get angry with God. That’s called pride, and God hates pride.

James 4:6-7 says, “‘God opposes everyone who is proud, but he is kind to everyone who is humble.’ Surrender to God!” (CEV). I can think of a lot of people I wouldn’t want to have as an opponent. I would not want to compete in the swimming pool against Michael Phelps. I would not want to be on a basketball court opposed by LeBron James. I would not want to be at an auction opposed by Bill Gates.

But I really don’t want to be opposed by God, because there’s no way I’m going to win that battle. The Bible says that when I am prideful, God is not just mildly irritated at me. He’s in opposition to me at that very moment. I’m an enemy of God anytime I get full of pride. That’s how serious it is. So, what does it mean to surrender yourself and your plans to God?

Romans 6:13b says, “Give yourselves to God, as those who have been brought from death to life, and surrender your whole being to him to be used for righteous purposes” (GNT). Surrendering means saying, “God, I’m going with your plans for my life, not my own. I’ve got plans, I’ve got dreams, I’ve got goals, I’ve got ambitions, but I know that you put me on this earth for a purpose, and I’m going to intentionally choose your plan for my life instead of my own. I know you’re not going to reveal it to me all at once. It’s going to come a little bit at a time, so I’m going to take it a step at a time.”

Talk It Over

  • In what areas of your life do you need to surrender to God?
  • How does your desire to control certain areas of life reveal your pride?
  • Why do you think God hates pride?

Omar's favorite

Monday, July 17

Turning Point by Dr. David eremiah

I Offer You Work

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
Philippians 4:13

Recommended Reading
Philippians 4:10-13

George Washington Carver rose from slavery to become a distinguished professor at Iowa State College of Agricultural and Mechanical Arts, but one day he opened a letter from Booker T. Washington of the Tuskegee Institute in Alabama, who wrote, “Our students are poor, often starving. They travel miles of torn roads across years of poverty. We teach them to read and write, but words cannot fill stomachs. They need to learn to plant and harvest crops.” Washington pled with Carver to come to Tuskegee and teach, saying, “I cannot offer you money, position, or fame. … I offer you in their place—work—hard, hard work.”

 

To the shock of his colleagues, Carver accepted, saying, “I am looking forward to a very busy, pleasant and profitable time at your college and shall be glad to cooperate with you in doing all I can through Christ who strengtheneth me….”1

God’s goals for our life are far greater than our own. He opens doors and gives us inward nudges and biblical insights as to what to do. He leads us. We may not arrive at money, position, or fame; but when we work for Christ we can do all He assigns through Christ who strengthens us.

The secret of my success? It is simple. It is found in the Bible.
George Washington Carver

1William J. Federer, George Washington Carver: His Life & Faith in His Own Words (WJ Federer, 2002), 14-15.

Rick Warren Current Series

40 Days of love.  Is the current audio series from Rick warren.  Do a web search for Rick Warren and his series "Forty Days of Love".  We have been posting some daily devotions from that series on forgiveness which is a small sample of the entire series.  We will continue to post some of his devotions.  In the future we will also be posting some of the Bethesda United Methodist Men's favorite sites for daily devotions.  Continue checking back for new devotions.

How Often Should You Forgive ?

How Often Should You Forgive?

By Rick Warren — Jul 14, 2017

“Peter came to him and asked, ‘Lord, how often should I forgive someone who sins against me? Seven times?’ ‘No, not seven times,’ Jesus replied, ‘but seventy times seven!’” (Matthew 18:21-22 NLT).

Forgiveness is rarely a one-time event. So how often do you have to keep releasing your right to get even?

Until you stop feeling the hurt — then you’ll know you’ve forgiven that person.

Matthew 18:21-22 says, “Peter came to him and asked, ‘Lord, how often should I forgive someone who sins against me? Seven times?’ ‘No, not seven times,’ Jesus replied, ‘but seventy times seven!’” (NLT).

Peter thought he was being pretty magnanimous. In Jewish law, you had to forgive a person three times, and after you’d forgiven them three times, that was it. You didn’t have to forgive them anymore. So Peter’s thinking, “The law says three times. How about if I double it, and add in one for good measure? Seven times? (God’s going to be really impressed with this!)”

And Jesus says, “Wrong! You’re not even close! How about 70 times seven!” He’s saying you have to just keep on doing it. You just keep on forgiving until the pain stops. Every time you remember that hurt, you make an intentional choice to say, “God, that person really hurt me, and it still hurts. But because I want to be filled with love and not resentment, I am choosing to give up my right to get even and wish bad on that person. I am choosing to bless those who hurt me. God, I pray you’ll bless their life — not because they deserve it. They don’t. I don’t deserve your blessing either, God. But I pray that you’d show grace to them like you’ve shown to me.”

It’s not easy. In fact, I have no doubt that for some reading this, your marriage is about to self-destruct — not because of the hurt but because of the unforgiveness. It’s not the hurt but the refusal to forgive that destroys a marriage.

You may say, “I don’t feel like forgiving.” Who does? Nobody ever feels like forgiving. You do it because it’s the right thing to do, and you do it to get on with your life. These steps are not easy, but with God’s power, you can do it.

Talk It Over

  • Is there a broken relationship in which you’ve blamed “irreconcilable differences”? How did unforgiveness play a part in the collapse of that relationship?
  • What hurt from the past still brings you pain? How can forgiveness help you move forward?
  • When it comes to your relationships, what does it mean to have God’s power working in your life?

Respond to Evil with Good

Respond to Evil with Good

By Rick Warren — Jul 13, 2017

“Do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you” (Luke 6:27b-28 NIV).

The Bible says in Luke 6:27-28, “Do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you” (NIV). Notice these three verbs: “do good,” “bless,” and “pray for.” A big part of forgiveness is responding to evil with good.

How do you know when you’ve genuinely forgiven somebody? You can pray for God to bless that person. You also start seeing that person’s hurt. When people are hurting inside, they take it out on others. Hurt people hurt people. When you learn to forgive, you not only see your own hurt but you see their hurt, too. Then you start to understand why they acted in such evil or selfish or hurtful or abusive ways. You can pray for them, and you can even pray for God to bless them.

You say, “But you don’t know how they’ve hurt me.” No, I don’t. And I’m sorry for every hurt you’ve experienced. But I do know this: You’re never going to get on with your life unless you forgive and let it go. That doesn’t mean you have to forget. It means you relinquish your right to get even and respond to evil with good.

How can you do that? There’s only one possible way: You have to be filled with the love of Jesus Christ.

When you keep a record of wrong, you’re being unloving. But when you let it go and bless those who hurt you, then you’re letting God’s love work through you. You say, “I can’t do that!” You’re right! That’s why you need Jesus Christ. You can only do it with his help.

Talk It Over

  • How did Jesus model Luke 6:27-28 for us?
  • Can you identify someone you need to forgive and ask God to bless?
  • How can blessing someone who’s hurt you help you see that person’s hurt more clearly?

Forgiveness by Rick Warren

Five Things Forgiveness Is Not

By Rick Warren — Jul 11, 2017

“Love isn’t selfish or quick tempered. It doesn’t keep a record of wrongs that others do” (1 Corinthians 13:5b CEV).

There’s a lot of faulty thinking about forgiveness. The act of forgiveness gets watered down. It gets abused. It gets cheapened.

What is forgiveness really? Take a quick test by answering “true” or “false” to the following statements:

  1. People should not be forgiven until they ask for it.
  2. Forgiveness includes minimizing the offense and the pain that was caused.
  3. Forgiveness includes restoring trust and reuniting a relationship.
  4. You haven’t really forgiven until you’ve forgotten the offense.
  5. When I see someone else hurt, then it is my duty to forgive the offender.

If you study the Bible, you’ll discover that all five of those statements are false.

Before we talk about what forgiveness really is, we have to talk about what it is not. Here are five things forgiveness is not:

1. Forgiveness is not conditional. In other words, it’s not based on somebody else’s response. Real forgiveness is unconditional. It’s not earned. It’s not deserved. It’s not bargained for. It’s not paid for. It’s not based on some promise that you’ll never do it again. If you say to someone “I’ll forgive you if . . . ,” that’s not forgiveness. That’s called bargaining.

2. Forgiveness is not minimizing the seriousness of the offense. There is a big difference between being wounded and being wronged. Being wounded is something that is accidental and does not require forgiveness. When you are wronged, someone intentionally meant to hurt you, and that requires forgiveness.

3. Forgiveness is not resuming a relationship without changes. The Bible teaches that forgiveness and restoring relationship are two different things. Forgiveness is instant. Trust must be built over a long period of time. Forgiveness is your part in reconciliation. But for a relationship to be restored, the offender has to do three other things that are unrelated to forgiveness: Demonstrate genuine repentance, make restitution whenever possible, and rebuild your trust by proving he or she has changed over time.

4. Forgiveness is not forgetting what happened. It’s impossible to try to forget something. When you’re trying to forget something, what are you focusing on? The very thing you want to forget. And whatever you focus on, you tend to move toward.

The key isn’t forgetting. The key is learning to see it through the lens of grace and God’s sovereignty and discovering how he can turn even bad things into good in your life if you’ll trust him and respond in the right way.

5. Forgiveness is not my right when I wasn’t the one that was hurt. Only the victim has the right to forgive. You can’t forgive people who haven’t hurt you.

There is always a cost to sin. And there is always a cost to forgiveness. That’s why you have to understand what forgiveness is not before you can look at what forgiveness really is.

PLAY today’s audio teaching from Pastor Rick>>

Talk It Over

  • Does it make it easier to forgive someone when you consider that forgiveness is unconditional? Why or why not?
  • Of the five things forgiveness is now, which do you struggle with the most? Explain why.
  • How do you think God can use your experience of being wronged to help others?

Devotions 2017 - Getting Even

    

Let Go of Your Need to Get Even

By Rick Warren — Jul 12, 2017

“Never avenge yourselves. Leave that to God, for he has said that he will repay those who deserve it” (Romans 12:19a TLB).

The heart of real forgiveness is relinquishing your right to get even. The Bible says in Romans 12:19, “Never avenge yourselves. Leave that to God, for he has said that he will repay those who deserve it” (TLB).

You say, “If I give up my right to get even with somebody who’s hurt me, then that’s unfair.” You’re right! It is unfair. But whoever said forgiveness is fair? Was it fair for Jesus Christ to forgive everything you’ve ever done wrong and let you go free? No. We don’t want God to be fair to us, though. We want God to be gracious to us. We all want justice for everybody else and forgiveness for ourselves.

The truth is that life is not fair. And forgiveness is not fair. It’s called grace, and God has shown it to you. One day, God is going to have the last word. He’s going to settle the score. He’s going to right the wrong. Leave the justice part to God. You just concern yourself with forgiving so there can be peace in your heart and you can get on with your life.

If you don’t do this, you will fall into the trap of bitterness. Resentment and bitterness are worthless emotions. In fact, doctors tell us they are the unhealthiest emotions. They will eat you alive like cancer. All your resentment and bitterness toward people who have hurt you in the past isn’t going to change the past, and it certainly won’t change the future. All it can do is mess up today.

When you hold on to resentment, you allow people from your past to continue to hurt you today. And that’s not smart! The people in your past are past. They cannot continue to hurt you unless you choose to hold on to the hurt. Instead, let go of your need to get even or make things fair. Leave it up to God.

The Bible says, “Be careful that none of you fails to respond to the grace which God gives, for if he does there can very easily spring up in him a bitter spirit which is not only bad in itself but can also poison the lives of many others” (Hebrews 12:15 Phillips).

Talk It Over

  • What hurt from your past do you have a hard time letting go of?
  • What can you do today to move on from your hurt?
  • How have you seen bitterness affect someone emotionally, physically, and spiritually?