Inauguration Day in the United States and the events that have led up to it are stirring up a lot of emotions for many of us. Our desire to love and care for others can seem at odds with the fear, confusion, or anger we’re feeling, or a desire to defend our beliefs and opinions. Maybe your own family feels divided, or you posted something on social media which proved more controversial than you were expecting. Figuring out how to be kind during times like these isn’t easy—but it’s possible. Interested in learning more? Keep reading, friend.
When we’re shaken by the circumstances around us, our first instinct can sometimes be to criticize or complain. We might find ourselves exploding with rage instead of praying for peace.
It’s okay to get frustrated when life feels unfair or out of control. It’s okay (and encouraged) to bring your cares and concerns before God and to share them with other trusted friends in your life (see 1 Peter 5:7 and Galatians 6:2). But there’s a fine line between carrying a burden and carrying bitterness.
When we’re angered by the words or actions of others, it’s tempting to complain about them and criticize them. But our criticism rarely improves the situation. Instead, it often poisons our souls and prevents us from finding solutions.
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Instead, we can do something productive with our pain. We don’t have to sit in silence, stewing over the latest news article or social media post that has our blood boiling. Even when it’s hard to know how to be kind, we can always choose to pause. To take a break. And to pray about what’s happening.
Now, prayer doesn’t mean just saying words in the hopes God will do something about them. Prayer leads to action. When we pray, God guides us in discovering what we should do next. Pastor Craig Groeschel says it this way: “Prayer is never our last resort. It’s our first line of defense.”
That brings us to a gut check. Think back to those criticisms and complaints we mentioned earlier. How often do you take those kinds of complaints to God?
If the answer is not as often as you’d like, what can you do to change that?
We often will get to a place where we’re so afraid or frustrated that we’ll say things like, “This is just too much,” or, “Well, if this happens, then we’ll never be okay again.” But that shows we’re putting our faith in the wrong thing. If our faith, hope, and security can crumble because of one news story or one conversation or one social media post, we’ve got to learn to remember who God is.
Nothing is too hard for God. Nothing is too big or too small for God, and nothing is beyond His control.
So, the next time you’re ready to complain about someone or criticize something, take a second to ask yourself if you’ve prayed about it. If not, do it: Pray for the politician or protestor you don’t like. Pray for the relative whose views frustrate you. Just look at what 1 Timothy says:
I urge you, first of all, to pray for all people. Ask God to help them; intercede on their behalf, and give thanks for them. Pray this way for kings and all who are in authority so that we can live peaceful and quiet lives marked by godliness and dignity. 1 Timothy 2:1-2 NLT
Prayer changes things. But it most often changes us. So, if you’re wondering how to be kind today (and really any day), a great first step is to pray and to allow God to take the fear and frustration you’re feeling and fuel your faith in Him. In fact, here’s a prayer for you today:
Pray: God, I recognize that kindness doesn’t always come easily to me. I’m sorry for that. Please help me stop criticizing and start loving. Give me gracious words to respond to those I disagree with, and help me spread Your love in every situation. Give me patience. Overwhelm me with peace. Help me remember how to be kind today and every day. And build my faith and trust in You alone. In Jesus’ name, amen.