Revive Our Hearts Podcast

The Power of Kindness

Leslie Basham: A Christian radio teacher was frustrated with an airline and starting to show it to a customer service representative.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: And she said, "Now, what did you say your name is?" I said, "Nancy Leigh DeMoss." And she said, "Oh, I love your radio program!"

Leslie: This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss for Tuesday, April 21, 2015.

Starting last week, Nancy has been exploring Titus chapter 2 with Mary Kassian. They co-authored a brand-new workbook based on Titus 2 called, True Woman 201: Interior Design. Mary and Nancy recorded this conversation for a video companion for the workbook, and you can see it at ReviveOurHearts.com.

Nancy: Mary, just a few minutes ago as you and I were getting some makeup done in preparation for this video shoot, we had the sweetest experience of the very element we're going to be talking about today.

Mary Kassian: We did. We have a makeup lady that we just met this morning, and her name was Maria. She came in, and she was so kind. She was helping us with makeup, and we were chatting with her and finding out about her family.

Nancy: As we were getting ready to finish up, we said, "We'd like to bless you. We'd like to pray for you." And you said to her, "Is there any specific way we can pray for you?"

Mary: She mentioned that she had not been feeling well. She'd been in the hospital and had so many health struggles.

Nancy: And so you proceeded to pray for her.

Mary: Yes.

Nancy: You just prayed a beautiful prayer, asking God to minister health and grace to her. And when you finished praying . . .

Mary: I couldn't believe her reaction. She just burst into tears, and she started hugging us and just saying, "This is the kindest thing anyone has ever done for me."

Nancy: She said, "This is such a gift, this is such a gift." And actually, after you left the room, I was still there, she said, "Please tell Mary that I had a headache until she prayed for me, and my headache is gone." She was so encouraged by what just seemed like a very simple everyday act of kindness.

And I thought, What a beautiful picture that is of the power of kindness extended in the name of Christ.

Mary: Yes, and just how overwhelmed by it all she was. You could tell that it was just so touching. "Nobody does this for me." To me it was flabbergasting because it was, like, everybody prays for me all the time.

Nancy: Right.

Mary: And just to be praying for someone who doesn't receive that and is so touched by it.

Nancy: It's just the reminder of the impact that we can have as women of God, as we are in this cold and unkind world, to reach out and extend kindness in the name of Christ to people. And that's what we come to today as the next element of biblical womanhood, and it's right in this text.

Let's read it again. Paul talks first to older women, and he says they're to be reverent in behavior. They're not to be slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good. They are to train the young women—so these are things that need to be passed on from one generation to the next. They're things that can be learned; they're to train the young women to love their husbands and children (we've talked about that) to be self-controlled, to be pure, to be working at home, and then just this four-letter word . . .

Mary: Little word—kind.

Nancy: To be kind (see Titus 2:3–5). And yet such a powerful impact it can have when we are kind. As we've been studying this, I think one of the things that has really stood out to me is that Christian kindness is a reflection of . . .

Mary: . . . the kindness of God.

Nancy: In fact, I've been memorizing Psalm 145 over the last few weeks, and twice in that passage it says that God is kind in all His works. And I'll tell you, this has really been working on me a lot. And to say that God is kind in everything that He does . . .

Mary: That's an overwhelming thought—the kindness of God. We think of God as being all-knowing, all-powerful.

Nancy: He's everywhere.

Mary: He's sovereign. But just the whole thought that He is the kindest Being in the whole universe.

Nancy: And He's so big. He really could just squash us like ants.

Mary: Exactly, but there's kindness in His heart.

Nancy: Yes.

Mary: I just think our world just so yearns for this. We saw it in Maria this morning. The world yearns for a touch of kindness or an act of kindness. There's the practice of a random act of kindness (even movement) because kindness is so rare and so unusual that when someone is kind, instead of being curt or snappy . . .

Nancy: . . . or just not noticing needs . . .

Mary: Exactly, it really does make a difference, and people really do notice.

Nancy: As I've been working on this book and this chapter in particular, I think the two elements that have been most convicting for me have been self-control and kindness. As I'm in the process of working with our team and with people that I'm close to, I find myself saying, "Lord, would You make me more kind like You are? Kind in my thoughts, kind in my words, to notice the people around me." I tend to be very task oriented, moving quickly from one thing to the next. I can just leave a wake of busyness and stress around me. But I want to stop and notice and say, "How can I minister to you in the name of Jesus?" It's transformational.

While we're in the book of Titus, when you come to chapter 3, you see this stated again. Paul says, "We were once foolish, disobedient, led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures, passing our days in malice and envy, hated by others and hating one another" (v. 3). And I think, Wow. That's a pretty awful kind of person.

And so how did God treat us?

Mary: "But when the kindness of God appeared . . ."

Nancy: "But when the the goodness and kindness of our God and Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to His own mercy" (vv. 4–5).

So you think, It's easy to be kind to people who bless you, who encourage you, who strengthen you." But to think of strangers, people who rub you the wrong way, people who irritate you. We were all that and worse to God, and yet He showed us kindness.

Mary: And the other thing I love about this verse and the way it is structured is "when the goodness and kindness of God appeared, he saved us." Well, who is the He? The He is Jesus Christ, and Jesus Christ is the kindness and goodness of God appearing in the flesh. It's like God sent His kindness. That was His . . .

Nancy: . . . gift to us.

Mary: His means and His gift of kindness, and Jesus Christ coming for us and dying for our sins was God's demonstration of His kind heart.

Nancy: That really is the gospel, and that's what draws people to Christ. In fact, Romans 2 tells us "that the goodness and kindness of God brings us to repentance."

We say, "We don't deserve this." It leaves us awestruck when we think about it. God was kind to us when Romans says we were His enemies, we were separated from God, we were aliens from God. We hated God.

Mary: So it's not His rules. It's not His condemnation. It's not His, "Tsk, tsk, tsk, you should do better." It's His kindness that draws us to repentance. And that's really powerful. Kindness is a drawing agent. It draws people in. It draws people to the source of it.

That's why I think the Lord wants us to be kind and to demonstrate kindness—not so people are drawn to us, for instance, to say, "Oh, Nancy is so kind and I want to know her." Drawn to the kindness of God so that we can draw them to Jesus.

Nancy: And it really does do that. There are lots of opportunities we have to show kindness or lack of kindness, and there's a whole lot more of the other side of that in large supply in this world.

Mary: Yes.

Nancy: But it has to do with the way we talk to others, the way we treat them.

We've been discussing recently about how much unkindness there is on the Internet, on social medial.

Mary: Yes.

Nancy: I don't know what it is that we feel, even Christians, like we get a pass if it's something on Facebook or Twitter

Mary: It's because we're not face to face; we're not having to deal with the person eye to eye.

Nancy: I think that's an important thing to say when we're posting something or we're putting out a tweet. If we would say, "If we were sitting across the table from each other, this nameless, faceless person that I don't know in cyberspace, would I say ugly things? Would I say the same thing?"

And it's a good thing for us to consider in every area of our lives—in our relationships, in our homes . . .

Mary: . . . when we're out shopping, when we're driving.

Nancy: Think about clerks in stores and how much incivility and curtness they probably get.

Mary: Or think of those customer service agents. By the time you get up, you can tell that people have been harsh to them all day.

Nancy: I've got to tell you, and this is being really personal. One time I had an issue with an airline. They had botched my ticket royally. I was so frustrated. And, of course, to get a live person is a big challenge. So I was at high frustration level by the time I got a real person, and the impatience was like, "I've had enough of this." It was coming out in my spirit and my tone. It wasn't actually the words I was saying, but it was just how I was communicating.

So I'm talking to this nameless, faceless person in who knows what part of the world their customer service agent is. All of a sudden she says to me, "Now, what did you say your name is?" I said, "Nancy Leigh DeMoss." And she said, "Oh, I love your radio program! I listen to it here in this city." And all of a sudden . . .

Mary: You turned into a very kind woman?

Nancy: I did. I turned into a very kind woman! In that moment, though, I really wasn't a kind woman, in my heart for sure. I don't know exactly what she picked up. But it just shows, if we will stop and think about how we're representing the Lord, which was my concern at the moment. I don't want this woman to think this message doesn't matter, that there's a crusty, negative, old woman who's behind this. When I stopped to think about what was at stake, then it turned to kindness.

Mary: I see it when I go somewhere with my husband. Brent is so cognizant of acknowledging the people in front of him. If we go through a teller, through a checkout, he'll ask the young girl, "So how's your day going today?" Or the parking lot attendant, "So how's your day going today? How are you doing today?"

It's fascinating to me how often that just that small kindness is a door for ministry, because often the person will say, "Well, I really haven't been having a very good day." And then it opens the opportunity to say, "Well, may I just pray for you for a moment about that?" Or to give them a word of encouragement.

Nancy: And it really takes just, sometimes just a moment, not a lot of time, but just the thoughtfulness. And when we do, we're expressing the kindness that God has shown us in Christ. He filled our hearts to the brim with His goodness and His kindness. That's why Paul says in Ephesians 4, for example, "Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake has forgiven you" (v. 32).

So it's really just the outflow and the overflow of an awareness that God has been incredibly kind to me through Christ.

Mary: In True Woman 201 in the lessons we talk about the fact that kindness is part of this cluster of attributes that go together, they go with one another. I think we see that here in this Ephesians verse: "be kind to one another, tenderhearted." In order to be kind, you need a tender heart, and you need a forgiving heart, and you need a patient heart.

So all of those things, that cluster, those attributes go with one another, and all of them reflect what we've received from the Lord.

Nancy: And it ties in to the Titus 2 passage we've been looking at because, remember what we talked about in the last session—working at home? We talked about the priority of family, the priority of home. And then the very next element is kind, kindness.

Mary: Yes.

Nancy: That says to me that it's in our homes.

Mary: And that's the hardest place to be kind.

Nancy: The hardest place. I'm kinder many times to strangers, total strangers, than I am to the people that I'm closest to.

Mary: Yes—more patient, more polite, more caring, just less of an edge to the voice.

Nancy: A guest comes into my home and spills something or makes a bit of a mess or something breaks, and I'm, "Oh, no problem, no problem. It didn't mean anything. (It's just a 200-year-old antique.) But, no, it's okay; it's okay." But somebody who's close to me, a family member or contacts with our office or our staff, it could be the littliest thing, that in the big scheme doesn't matter at all, but it makes me grumpy. No, it doesn't make me grumpy. I am grumpy, and it comes out instead of kindness.

Really, what's inside our hearts when we are squeezed by those closest to us, that's what's really in our hearts.

Mary: Squeezed in a negative way.

Nancy: Squeezed in a negative way, right. What's really in our hearts is what comes out.

Mary: Yes. And during times of stress, when we're tired and just feel that we are beyond our limits, it does come out. And the sad thing is that many of us live like that all the time. I know sometimes I catch myself, and I think, I have not been kind," and I am not the type of person that I would like to live with at this moment in time.

Nancy: I've never thought that, but, yes, I do think that a lot about myself. It reminds me a little bit about that passage, the two sisters in Luke 10, where Martha was working at home, which is commendable. God says that's one of the elements.

Mary: Yes. She was serving, which is also commendable.

Nancy: She was serving. She was sacrificing. And Jesus didn't criticize her for doing those things to bless Him and His disciples, but in the process, she lost a kind heart. She became irritable and impatient and demanding. What if we have this amazing dinner ready, but in the process . . . or so what if we keep this amazingly clean house, or it's beautifully decorated, but the people who are closest to us are receiving the barbs of our impatience, our irritability, our lack of kindness. So what?

Mary: Exactly. Kindness actually sets the tone in a home. If you have someone who is kind . . . I believe, actually, that Mama often sets the tone in a home. There's that saying, "If Mama ain't happy, ain't no one happy." I think there is some truth to that.

Nancy: I think it's true in our churches as well. I think it's true in our ministry. The tone and spirit of the women, and I'll say starting with me in our office, can make a huge difference in the whole environment.

Mary: Yes. There's a huge difference if Mama is kind. If kindness is the first thing that's received and kindness is received when there's mistakes made, when there's milk spilled, when the husband is perhaps a little bit snappy and irritable. If he receives kindness . . .

Nancy: It diffuses so many negative things.  And our speech, our words, if we have a kind heart, what's going to come out are kind words. I think about that verse in Proverbs 31, again, another convicting verse. Verse 25 says, "She opens her mouth with wisdom and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue."

Kindness—how much more effective would our teaching and our exhortation and our ministry to others be if it was, "Just a spoonful of sugar makes the medicine go down," if it were accompanied by kindness? I think it just creates an atmosphere where people want to receive and respond to our words.

Mary: It also creates an atmosphere where you're able to speak truth because if you have a kind spirit, you can speak truth. I've seen this in my marriage where I have been able to address issues that are sometimes very difficult issues or sensitive issues. When I've been able to address them with kindness, that makes all the difference in the way that you are able to address conflict, address issues in the home, address thorny questions, that perhaps there are two different opinions. But if there's kindness, it makes such a difference.

Nancy: We heard your husband say when he was put on the spot on the day of your anniversary, and we said, "What's it like being married to Mary Kassian?" And he said, "I feel like I'm so blessed to be married to this amazing woman after thirty-two years." Now, that's because Christ is amazing.

Mary: Yes, because Christ is amazing.

Nancy: Now, you would be quick to say that. None of us, left to ourselves, we'd all be really unkind.

Mary: I think it's important also to mention that kindness is a journey. I know it has been for me. And in the passage here, it says, "teach the younger women to be kind."

Nancy: So kindness is a learning curve.

Mary: Yes. It's a learning curve. I believe that the Lord has worked in my heart, and I'm kinder now than I was when I was in my twenties and thirties. The Lord has just done that process of redemption in my heart as I've gotten older.

Nancy: Well, I'm watching the same thing happen in my heart, but I'll tell you what, it's a daily journey. It's a daily needing to be filled with the Spirit, confessing and repenting of a lack of kindness. And it's interesting that this theme of kindness is something that runs through the book of Titus.

Here's another convicting verse: Titus chapter 3 says, "Remind them . . . to speak evil of no one, to avoid quarreling, to be gentle or kind, and to show perfect courtesy toward all people" (v. 2).

Mary: Perfect courtesy.

Nancy: Toward all people.

Mary: Can you imagine if we did that as believers? If, as Christian women, every woman listening to this program, watching this video, showed perfect courtesy to all people?

Nancy: Scripture gives us several categories of people that we really need to make sure we're extending kindness to.

Mary: Yes.

Nancy: First is to our family. We see that in the Proverbs 31 woman.

Mary: And that's the hardest one. That's always the hardest place.

Nancy: Yes, within the four walls of our own home. I don't know if we need to say anything more about that because we all know it's a need. But then also to the family of God. Scripture talks about showing kindness to those who are in the family of God and not to overlook them, not to just assume we all get this. We need to be mindful of each other, courteous to each other, conscious of the needs of those around us, whether they're like us or different.

Mary: I think sometimes, when there is unkindness and it comes from a fellow believer, it stings.

Nancy: It hurts.

Mary: It really hurts.

Nancy: We've experienced that even in our own ministries. I've experienced it some, been a victim of some of it, and then I think, How many times have I been the cause of somebody else experiencing the hurt and the sting due to a lack of kindness?

Mary: Because we expect that this is the family of God, so there will be more kindness. There is an awareness to treat others with that respect and perfect courtesy.

Nancy: Yes. And then there's another category we see in Proverbs 31, for example, where I think women in particular can extend kindness, and that is to the poor and needy. It says this woman, "opens her hand to the poor. She reaches out her hands to the needy" (v. 20).

Mary: Yes.

Nancy: We're so blessed, and to be conscious of the needs of those around us in saying, "How can I minister to that need? How can I reach out and help lift that person up as God has lifted me up and extended His kindness to me?"

Mary: Yes.

Nancy: And then I think there's one more category which is, maybe, the hardest (family is hard, but here's another one), Jesus talked about being kind to . . .

Mary: . . . our enemies

Nancy: Yes, our enemies. Kind to those who are not kind to us.

Mary: Those who do not deserve it.

Nancy: And that takes us back to how God has treated us.

Mary: We don't deserve it. "While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us" (Rom. 5:8). If the Father has this kind, benevolent spirit, charitable spirit, to watch out for the poor and for the needy, and we're told that God has this incredibly tender heart for the orphans and for the widows and for people in need, for the poor and for sinners, so our kindness to others is not based on how they treat us or whether they deserve it. We extend kindness to others because Christ has poured kindness to us, and in the process, it's amazing to me to watch the transforming power of even just a little bit of kindness.

Mary: Yes.

Nancy: We saw it this morning with Maria.

Mary: Yes, we did.

Nancy: And how it can make such a difference. She just kept saying to us, "This is the most amazing gift I have ever been given."

Mary: "I will remember this day, and I will remember you for the rest of my life."

Nancy: Yes, she said that! And for what?

Mary: What did we even do? What did we do?

Nancy: Just a little bit of kindness goes such a long way.

Mary: Yes, just a bit of kindness.

Nancy: Yes. I've been thinking about this, Mary, as I'm getting older and attending more funerals, having more people die, older people, and hearing what's said about them after they're gone. Some of these people are great. They're very accomplished; they've done a lot of great things, but what people say about them that's meaningful is . . .

Mary: "This was a kind person."

Nancy: Yes. "This was a kind person. This is how this person ministered to me. This is how this person encouraged me."

Mary: It's like when Dorcas died.

Nancy: Yes.

Mary: Dorcas in the New Testament, where all the women started bringing the things that Dorcas had made for them—the widows, the poor, and the needy said, "This is what she did."

Nancy: They were weeping at her death.

Mary: They were weeping because, "This demonstrates the character of this woman, how kind she was to me."

Nancy: And it makes me wonder, when I'm lying in that box, what are people going to be saying? What are they going to be thinking? When it comes down to it, it doesn't really matter that I've written so many books, spoke at so many conferences, ran a women's ministry or organization or did radio. What's going to matter is: Did I show and demonstrate the kindness of Christ?

Mary: Yes.

Leslie: The concept of kindness sounds simple, but it's actually very powerful. Nancy Leigh DeMoss and Mary Kassian have been talking about the power of kindness, and they'll be right back.

Nancy and Mary have written about kindness and other important themes from Titus chapter 2 that's in a new workbook called True Woman 201: Interior Design. When you go through this workbook, you'll see the importance of allowing the Lord to work in your heart from the inside out. Along with kindness, you'll learn about other qualities of a godly woman, like reverence for the Lord, discernment, and having a heart for the home.

We'd like to send you True Woman 201: Interior Design when you support Revive Our Hearts with a gift of any amount. Your gift will help us continue calling women to freedom, fullness, and fruitfulness in Christ.

Visit ReviveOurHearts.com to make your donation, or ask for True Woman 201 when you call 1–800–569–5959.

Well, Jesus had tremendous authority, but He used that authority to serve others. He called you and me to do the same. Nancy and Mary will be back to talk about it tomorrow. And now they're back to wrap up today's discussion on kindness.

Nancy: Oh, Mary, this is such a powerful principle. It's one I feel I need so much more of in my own life, so I'm going to ask you to close our program. I want you to pray for me. I want you to pray for our listeners. And ask the Lord that, as women of God, we would be true women who demonstrate the goodness and the kindness of Christ.

Mary: Heavenly Father, thank You so much for being kind. You are kind above all. You define what kindness is. You're kind to the unkind. And even though we're sinners, and even though we did everything possible to alienate ourselves from You, You still reached out in kindness, and You sent Your Son, Jesus Christ, the kindness of God appeared, and He saved us.

So, Father, I pray that we may become women who have kind hearts. I pray for my sister, Nancy, here. I pray for myself. I pray for every woman who is listening or watching. I pray, heavenly Father, that You will just stir up in us to treat people with the kindness with which we have been treated, the kindness which we have received from You, undeserved, and often not even undeserved, but we actively were Your enemies, and yet You were kind to us.

I pray that we may demonstrate that sort of kindness to the people we come across every day—in traffic, at the bank, in the grocery store, at the shopping mall, at the office, at home. Oh, Father, may we be women who are kind. In the name of Jesus, amen.

Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss is an outreach of Life Action Ministries.

All Scripture is taken from the ESV unless otherwise noted.

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