About Encouragement for Today

Proverbs 31 Ministries is a non-denominational, non-profit Christian ministry that seeks to lead women into a personal relationship with Christ. With Proverbs 31:10-31 as a guide, Proverbs 31 Ministries reaches women right in the middle of their busy day through free daily devotions, radio program, speaking events, conferences, monthly magazine, resources, online communities, and Gather and Grow groups. We are real women offering real-life solutions to women who are striving to maintain life’s balance, in spite of today’s hectic pace and cultural pull away from godly principles. Wherever a woman may be on her spiritual journey, Proverbs 31 Ministries exists to be a trusted friend who takes her by the hand and walks by her side, leading her one step closer to the heart of God.

A Call for Kindness - Encouragement for Today - May 2, 2018

Candace Cameron Bure

May 2, 2018
A Call for Kindness
CANDACE CAMERON BURE

“But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit.” Titus 3:4-5 (ESV)

Any Batman fans out there? Remember how Gotham citizens alerted Batman when they were in need? They used the Bat-Signal, illuminating the darkness with the bright symbol of their hope as a sign for their hero to come help.

That’s my mission. I’m sending a kindness light as a symbol of my hope in humanity, a signal for us all to get to work.

Like the crime-ridden streets of Gotham, this planet is a mess. The news is scary, relationships are messy, and kindness seems to be on the endangered species list. But I have great hope. I believe it’s possible to carry ourselves with grace and dignity, even in a culture aiming to celebrate anger and division. I have a deep desire to raise up an army of kind and classy women to impact all we encounter — and in turn, the world.

These are the kinds of everyday heroes our world needs more of. And here’s where I hope you’ll hear me. You don’t need a cape to become this kind of hero. Or unique influence, advanced education or special technology. This job isn’t exclusively for the experts. In fact, all amateurs welcome!

The one requirement to be a kindness hero? Be willing. All you have to do is show up, start small and keep at it.

But before you enlist, let me give this disclaimer: We cannot do this on our own.

I’m a firm believer there’s a difference between an empowered woman and one who’s in-powered by the Holy Spirit. This is not a pep talk. I’m not giving you a list of feel-good mantras to ramp up your confidence in your own abilities.

But I am going to encourage you to remember Whose you are and where your true strength and ability come from.

If Christ isn’t the source of my actions toward others, being kind will come from a selfish, me-focused attitude. Kind toward others, expecting them to always be kind back … and likely getting my feelings hurt when they don’t. This doesn’t change a thing.

Here’s a snapshot of what we’re trying to avoid: “We ourselves 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” (Titus 3:3, ESV).

Kindness is learned. It doesn’t come naturally. Because of sin’s damage, we can’t love others well, but that’s only part of the story. The good part comes next, as today’s key verse shows. “But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit” (Titus 3:4-5 ESV, emphasis mine).

Though we didn’t deserve it, Jesus responded with goodness and kindness. He’s the ultimate example of graciousness. How humbling! We can respond to others with kindness because we’ve received kindness ourselves — and not just any kindness, but the most extravagant display of kindness in human history!

That’s just how loved we are. And we start living lives of kindness and purpose when we realize how much God loves those around us, too.

This is where God’s Spirit invites us to move from a me-first mentality into a faith-first mentality. We need God’s help to see the people around us as the image bearers they are.

We don’t need to be empowered with a long list of dos and don’ts or a rah-rah pep talk for how to treat each other. Rather, we need to be in-powered by the Holy Spirit to see everyone through the eyes of love. No exceptions. Your husband, your best friend, your pastor. Plus the grouchy cashier, the silent strangers in the elevator, the real men and women hiding behind avatars on Facebook, the mailman. God’s love is fierce and passionate for everyone.

When we submit our lives to God’s plan, passionately pursuing our mission to bring Him glory, He’ll take our small acts of kindness and multiply them in ways we cannot imagine. Ever notice kindness is contagious? Sometimes all it takes is a cheerful customer service rep or a whistling stranger to turn our day around. Who knows who you’ll inspire to treat others well because of your example! Trust the ripple effect. Believe it, and do your part. I’ll do my best to do mine.

Heavenly Father, You are good. You are always kind. I surrender my own agenda to You today and ask that You show me someone who needs a little extra kindness. Help me drink deeply of Your mercy and love toward me and to give freely out of the overflow of that love. Give me eyes to see what You see. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

TRUTH FOR TODAY:
Ephesians 4:32, “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” (NIV)

RELATED RESOURCES:
In today’s world, you know what it’s like to feel pressure on all sides from clashing cultural expectations. How can you stay true to who God has uniquely created you to be in the face of the script you’ve been given? What’s more, how can women stand their ground with grace? Check out Candace Cameron Bure’s latest release, Kind is the New Classy.

CONNECT:
Connect with Candace online at her website and Facebook.

Help spread kindness starting now. Share with us in the comments how you're putting kindness into action, and you’ll be entered to WIN a copy of Kind is the New Classy by Candace Cameron Bure. To celebrate this book’s release, HarperCollins Christian Publishing will give away 5 copies! {We'll randomly select 5 winners and email notifications to each one by Monday, May 7, 2018.}

REFLECT AND RESPOND:
Think about someone you see regularly who could use a kind gesture today. Write them a handwritten note or offer an in-person smile or word of kindness. Don’t put it off another day!

© 2018 by Candace Cameron Bure. All rights reserved.

Proverbs 31 Ministries thanks Zondervan, a division of HarperCollins Christian Publishing, for their sponsorship of today's devotion.

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Headshot Photo Credit: Eric Michael Roy.

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