Such a simple virtue – kindness

By Dave Henning / August 9, 2020

“Kindness.  Such a simple virtue; it often takes a back seat to more dramatic qualities like bravery, holiness, or love (kindness sort of feels like the younger stepchild to love).  And yet kindness is such a wonderful thing to receive.”- John Eldredge

In Chapter 5 (“Kindness Toward Ourselves”) of Get Your Life Back, John Eldredge reflects on how often he must put his soul aside to deal with the demands of life.  In fact, all of us wind up doing this at one time or another.  Because life goes on, despite our personal struggles.  Above all, it’s hard on the soul – and hard on our life with God.

Furthermore, our world requires us to go at breakneck speed.  As a result, we end up with only one emotional state toward everything.  a state John characterizes as a general, haggard, hazy condition of ‘on’.  No margin for anything else.

Certainly, it’s important to offer kindness to one another.  Yet, there’s power in offering kindness to ourselves.  So, the author encourages, learn to practice simple kindness toward yourself.  For the fruit of this kindness works wonders on your soul.  In addition, the ripple effects spread that goodness to everyone else around you.  Also, John underscores, the practices he recommends in Get Your Life Back he offers in the spirit of kindness.  Because kindness provides the only posture that enables us to embrace, enjoy, and maintain such practices over time.

Finally, the author delineates what practicing kindness toward yourself looks like.  Perhaps, John suggests, you need to practice kindness toward yourself in the:

  • way you talk to yourself – especially when you blow it or mess something up
  • the pace you currently demand that your soul must keep up with
  • spoken and unspoken expectations that drive your life
  • to-do list your currently have for yourself

Today’s question: How do you practice the simple virtue of kindness toward yourself?  Please share.

Tomorrow’s blog: “In the dailies – practice little things”

About the author

Dave Henning

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