Several nights ago I woke up around 4am, reached for my phone and began typing myself a note. It really was the strangest thing. I hadn’t been dreaming (or at least, I don’t remember dreaming) and I had a very clear and distinct line of thought flowing. After a few paragraphs, I laid back down and went right back to sleep. Usually I have a lot of trouble falling back asleep after having woken up.
Reading back over the few paragraphs I had typed, I was surprised at the clarity of thought. For having been written at 4am, in the dark, and out of the dead of sleep it was extremely concise and to the point. I really felt the Lord must have woken me and spurred me to write these things down. The words, ‘kill them with kindness,’ seemed to jump out at me along with the phrase ‘compliment those who act with jealousy‘.
His message was obvious to me and as always, very well-timed. Just last week, I was explaining to my 4-year-old that Jesus wants us to love our neighbors and be kind to those who hurt our feelings. Being kind when our feelings have been hurt, often times more than we can count, can be so difficult. To ‘kill someone with kindness’ is the idea that through a consistent attitude of kindness, those who have hurt us will be changed or will, at the very least, stop mistreating us. Our flesh wants to build up walls and avoid these people who have treated us with such disregard. But we’re called to be Jesus made manifest in these earthly bodies and that means no running. And no walls.
As much as we hate to say it, unkind behaviour often stems from jealousy. Plain and simple. Many times it has nothing to do with something you’ve said or done and everything to do with that person’s perception of themself and their situation. They’re unhappy and they’re not dealing with it well.
Jealousy can be a really difficult emotion to deal with. It starts off innocent enough, I wish I could do that. Or I wish I looked like…,
Left untethered and ignored these thoughts can grow into a monstrous beast stealing away your joy and happiness, even hurting others in the process.
I’ve seen it time and time again and I’ve experienced both ends. Sure, I’ve been jealous, haven’t you? It becomes a huge problem when you allow those little thoughts to build up to a point where you can’t even be around that person, ‘like’ their Facebook pictures, or talk to them in person. Jealousy can completely warp your perception of people. They can be a perfectly wonderful human being, but your attitude towards them will cause you to see them as something else. They’ll become a “goody-two-shoes”, “too perfect” or “spoiled” in your eyes. Or perhaps you’ll feel completely unable to “measure up to them”. It could be a number of things, but the important thing is, it’s unhealthy and it will hold you back from spiritual growth.
I see it on Faceboook especially. There are some people who love the extra ‘likes’. To them, they’re like little high-five or pats on the back. It makes them happy. And you know what? That’s ok. If making someone smile is that easy, just click the button already! Unfortunately, we can be sort of snobbish and withhold our “likes” as though we only had 5 to give out each day.
Have you ever felt as though, no matter how cute, funny or meaningful a post or photo is, there are some people who will not comment or ‘like’ it just because it was YOU who posted it?
You’re not alone and please don’t let it ruin your day. And whatever you do, don’t be that person. Not only is that kind of attitude hurting you, it’s hurting them. If you’ve been following my posts, you know that I have a history of self-confidence issues. When I saw people leaving me out or ignoring me, it really affected me negatively. My insecurities magnified my lack of self-confidence and that is a very difficult hole to get out of.
You can’t make everyone happy and you can’t click ‘like’ on everything you see… But if you sit back and ask yourself, I mean, really ask yourself, Do I do that? Do I skim over their posts or ignore them in person because I’m jealous? I want to encourage you to acknowledge it and find a way to change that behaviour.
If you’re on the receiving end of this sort of behaviour, what can you do? Especially when it seems obvious that for some reason or another, they just don’t like you?
Kill them with kindness. Smile until your face hurts. Compliment them. Find something nice to say and SAY it. Absolutely go out of your way and be kind.
Even though you may not feel like encouraging or complimenting someone, you should do it anyway. Your confidence will grow and you’ll find you’re being hurt less, making a huge difference in a very simple way.
We must always carefully consider our words and the intentions of our heart. If someone is jealous of you or mistreating you, it’s very possible that your aloofness or avoidance will only feed the problem. From experience, it does make a difference to step out and say something kind.
Growing up, my dad would always suggest this as a way to deal with bullies at school. Most of the time, it worked and we ended up friends. Other times, they just gave up and left me alone. It is unfortunate that the concept to love our enemies and be kind to those who have hurt us has become so foreign. Social media, especially, makes it easier than ever to just ignore and ‘hide’ people. (Been there, done that)
Being hurt by others is never easy and jealousy can eat at you until you’re so bitter you can’t see past your own face. Just step back and ask yourself, how can I use this situation for the good? You see, how you conduct yourself says a lot about your character. Will you lash back? Will you hide? Will you ignore it and hope it goes away? What if you choose to take positive action and kill them with a good dose of kindness? Again and again. And again.
“For though the righteous fall seven times, they rise again, but the wicked stumble when calamity strikes.” Proverbs 24:16