In families, kindness means discerning the unique needs of a specific person. It involves taking the initiative to express care based on what you know of them. Kindness requires becoming a lifelong “student” of each person in the family—seeking to understand everyone so you can best love them.
The apostle Peter referred to this when he encouraged husbands to “live with your wives in an understanding way” (1 Peter 3:7 NASB). Proverbs encourages a wife to “open her mouth in wisdom and [let] the teaching of kindness [be] on her tongue. She looks well to the ways of her household” (31:26–27 NASB). And Scripture reminds us that everyone who has been called by God is to put on a heart of compassion and kindness.
I can show Nicholas kindness like no one else because I know him so well. For example, I buy the brand of T-shirts he feels most comfortable in, and I cut his sandwiches in triangles because that’s his favorite shape! I try to prioritize time for Nicholas to play with Caleb, because Nicholas says they are both good at sharing. I know Kara likes to hang out with her friend Chloe, but always at our house, because sometimes the two of them can get into disagreements. I make a special effort to straighten Chloe’s covers at night because she can’t sleep if they’re “all crooked.” These demonstrations of kindness are possible because I’ve learned to be a student of my children. I’m praying that my demonstrations of kindness are just a small way I can imitate the kindness the Lord has shown to me.
Remember, my beloved: I am wonderfully kind, patient, and tolerant of you. It was my kindness, in spite of your sin, that first drew you into a relationship with me. Now I’m giving you the opportunity to share some of that kindness with your children. Pay it forward every day. Look for ways to demonstrate kindness with others. Take thought of others just as I think of you a thousand times a day. Finally, remember that sharing truth with one another is important, but that truth needs to be coupled with kindness.
For more devotions like these, checkout 31 Days of Prayer for My Children by Terri Sneed and David Ferguson at greatcommandment.net/resource-store.