Marriage is a Lifelong Commitment, and Friendship is a Lifelong Engagement

cute middle aged couple embracing outdoors

Remember the story of The Good Samaritan? Me too. Digging into the scripture we see that Jesus was answering a lawyer who asked, “What shall I do to inherit eternal life?”

Instead of answering that question directly, Jesus prompted him toward a deeper understanding, asking him what is written in the law. His response was, “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself.” (v. 27)

Like us, many had heard this scripture time and again. But few understood that loving your neighbor is an act of merciful kindness and grace.

Jesus shared a parable with him about The Good Samaritan who went out of his way to help someone in need while others just passed him by on the other side of the road.

One little word in this chapter stood out to me. It speaks volumes. It teaches us what real kindness entails. And as I dig a bit deeper, I see that Jesus made a point to use this word often.

Mercy. eleos in the Greek translation. (Strongs G1656) Defined as: mercy: kindness or good will towards the miserable and the afflicted, joined with a desire to help them. A) of men towards men: to exercise the virtue of mercy, show one’s self merciful.

I’ve often said that it’s easy to love those who love us, but the challenge lies in our ability to love the unlovable. That calls for grace. I think it must be said often because there’s this mindset around us that wants to reinforce this idea that kindness is only for those who deserve it.

The familiar phrase, “It has to go both ways,” doesn’t take into account merciful grace.

Kindness doesn’t sit around analyzing a situation to determine whether this person is right or that person is wrong. Kindness is a charitable gift–it reaches out to those in need.

If we hope to grow in virtue, then we must keep our eyes focused on Christ at all times. He is the one leading the dance. He’s the one we take our cue from.

Don’t let your character be shaped by the attitude of others around you. If someone is unkind, respond with kindness. If someone is getting on your nerves be patient. There are times when we must draw healthy boundaries.

But I pray that you use wisdom in doing so, and pray about the situation earnestly. Don’t give up on people too quickly. Consider our Lord Who took on our sin and forgave those who crucified Him.

Make an effort to clothe yourself in kindness even and especially when you don’t feel like being kind.

Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, 13 bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. 14 And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. – Colossians 3:12-14, ESV

Finally, let’s talk about complacency and how it can affect our kindness. You get comfortable with your surroundings and your situation. You’ve got a guy with a lifetime commitment. You don’t have to impress him. Day in and day out you wake up together and you know that at the end of the day you’ll be heading right back to that same room again. There’s no challenge, at least not on the surface…

But here’s the thing. There’s always a challenge to capture and grab hold of his heart. Marriage is a lifelong commitment, and friendship is a lifelong engagement. Each and every day you have the opportunity to engage with each other. Put in the effort and the attention it takes to keep your friendship alive.

Be friendly, helpful, considerate, loving, and patient. In other words, be kind.

You are loved by an almighty God,

Darlene Schacht
The Time-Warp Wife

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