“I led them with cords of human kindness, with ties of love. To them I was like one who lifts a little child to the cheek, I bent down to feed them.” Hosea 11:4
There is a motto that most of us have heard at some point in our lives; “What you practice grows stronger.” That means if we are focused or meditating on shame, condemnation, judgement, anger, hopelessness or fear, those very things grow stronger in our lives. Truly we are growing something in every moment and what we focus on tends to affect the whole.
We talk a lot about transformation around here, the inner transformation that ultimately results in good fruit. The question is, how do we position ourselves spiritually, emotionally and physically so that we are fostering ideal conditions for this metamorphosis? How do we not force, shame, control or condemn ourselves into new habits or virtues? The spiritual formation we are talking about is first and foremost led by Jesus, then secondly involves our participation. In order for us to be open to His ongoing radical transformations in our lives, we need to have the correct narrative, filter or understanding about who God truly is. What we believe about God is truly the most important thing about us.
The world’s way of catalyzing change usually begins with shame or fear and most certainly starts with outward habit changes. However, what we are learning through ever-evolving neuroscience studies is that shame and fear don’t work! They actually shutdown the centers in our brain for growth and learning. Simply put, they throw us into that fight, flight, freeze brain. The changes that we make out of sheer willpower tend to last only a few days, weeks or months at best because they are based on an outward conformity.
Kindness enters in and gives us the courage to look at the areas in our life that we would rather hide from. God leads us to radical life change by interacting with us through kindness. It’s his loving kindness that leads us to the repentance that results in transformation. It first starts within and then affects the way we bear fruit and interact with others. Focus on the inner, and the outer will take care of itself.
In our newest bible study, Radically Kind, we will be studying God’s kindness and how it’s not soft but has the power to transform. We will also explore mindfulness tools that will help us practice intentionally paying attention with kindness to our inner thought life, so that we can see our lives formed in Jesus and not conformed to the world. Get registered today, so you can stop walking around wounded, and begin encountering radical life change through the practice of kindness.