I recently heard Beth Moore say kindness is not a weakness. This is one time I knew something already. I have often considered all of those Rude Judes as people who are extremely insecure and use their moods to manipulate others. And, I must note, I am always saddened by their responses.
So in my believing kindness is a virtue, I put it front and center. Lately though, I wish I didn’t have this urgent need to reach out to make others feel accepted, to be a good hostess–whether it’s in our home, church, meeting or social gathering. For some reason, I don’t want anyone to feel slighted. So I try to pull outsiders into the circle of conversation, looking them squarely in the eyes.
Now I realize my friendliness is what makes some turn still as stones, and I’m considering my actions from others’ perspectives. As in the times I’ve been friendly with what I thought was the purest of motives, only to possibly have my motives misconstrued.
Some women did not return my smile; their hardened eyes glared through me. For the longest I didn’t get it. Experience is a great teacher.
Years ago when my husband Bill and I were walking into church one Sunday morning, my attention was drawn to a modelesque woman in her twenties. Actually it was the lengthy exposure of her legs. Her short-short skirt left nothing for the imagination.
She must be new to church, I thought. Probably visiting family who made her come.
As Bill and I circled across the back of the church, I began to take note of other women—those I knew were “members.” Some were teenagers, some were grown women, but all too many were dressed in tight revealing apparel, as though they had come straight from a singles’ bar.
Maybe, the short-skirted woman is a member after all. It’s so hard to tell.
During the worship service I closed my eyes and wondered why I couldn’t focus on praising God. My answer seeped in, and I finally realized my problem: The last time I felt secure in church, lost in His presence, my former husband was slipping off with another woman.
I remember asking God, “But I thought I was safe in church! Why wasn’t I safeguarded? What happened?”
Life on earth happened, and God lets us choose.
Recently I was at an event when a young attractive woman was engaged in a conversation with my husband. I froze into a statue, my curved smile flatlined, and my eyes grew cold. She surely noticed. I wanted her to notice.
Suddenly I was struck with the thought that for all those times women seemed aloof that maybe they mistook my friendliness as flirtiness. Knowing my heart and that I didn’t mean for it to be that way, I wanted to take back my glare towards the young woman who, possibly, like me, was only being kind.
In this day and time it’s difficult to know.
So what do we do? Many of us know from personal experiences how the enemy has come to steal and destroy the best of relationships. It simply starts in the hearts and minds of men and women, in the little lusts we spark and fan. That’s why we can’t play with fire in our behavior, our dress and our activities.
One thing that works with me almost unconsiously is to think of others as family. Like my dearest friends are my sisters. Their husbands are my brothers. I’d never think to be jealous when Bill has conversations with these lovely women. Why? Because I trust them and know their love for me.
Yet I’m learning not to assume that with others I don’t know. In turn, others might not know my deep love and commitment to Bill, and his to me, and how that guards us continually to protect what we value. We don’t dare “play” with our relationships in excursions of flirtations with others.
So why can’t we take back the world so that committed relationships are safe? Why can’t we cleanse the airwaves so sexual promiscuity is no longer ubiquitous?
Think about it the next time you are in a conversation with someone of the opposite sex at work, church or in a social environment. Consider them as brothers and sisters, uncles and aunts, or nephews and nieces, eliminating anything flirtatious that can perhaps lead to more.
For the next post, I’d like to know your thoughts on this issue. As always, when you send an email, Facebook personal message or comment on this blog, I do keep your names confidential when asked and if I suspect you mean for it to be a personal response. In Part 2, I will share some true stories (real names protected) for us to consider how easily we can lose sight of truth. Let us learn from these past mistakes.