I don’t know if your mother had a saying that you remember, but my mom used to tell me and my sisters to “Act pretty.” It has nothing to do with outward appearance, She was telling us to be kind. We all have to be reminded of that…even in our adult years!
Paul tells us in Titus 2, Older women are to teach what is good, and to train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, and kind.
Why does he have to remind us of this? Because it’s so easy for us to DO all the things we should be doing, but with the wrong attitude. We can do the laundry, cook a meal and make the house spotless, but be huffing and puffing a bad attitude while doing so. (I’m So guilty!)
In her book, Adorned, Nancy paints the picture of Mary and Martha in Luke 10. She reminds us that we are sometimes “distracted with much serving, worried and bothered about so many things.” We become stretched thin and stirred up, bothered and brittle.
On this occasion, Jesus and his followers gathered at the home of Mary and Martha and Lazarus. There could’ve been two or three dozen people! Martha, with her take-charge temperament, moved into hostess mode for this impromptu gathering.
I imagine that she is excited to see Jesus and others there in her home, thankful for the joy of hosting her friend here where she lived with her sister Mary and brother, Lazarus. Martha began to clean and cook and make sure everyone was properly served and comfortable while Mary chose to sit at Jesus’ feet and listen to Him teach. Can you just imagine the thoughts that were running through Martha’s mind when she spots her sister sitting while she’s working?
Nancy reminds us that her thoughts included popular sins we all deal with:
Self-centeredness – Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her to to help me. Notice the words pointing to herself.
Insensitivity – People had gathered around to listen to Jesus teach. But that didn’t keep Martha from barging in, interrupting Him, disturbing everyone. She was more concerned with how she was being inconvenienced.
Accusation – Asking if someone would give her a hand would have been an understandable request. But her words were accusatory – both towards Jesus and Mary.
Resentment – Can you just hear her in the kitchen loudly and purposefully banging the pans around in her disgust? Her inner martyr had likely been muttering under her breath for a while now. What tone does she use? Is she whiney, loud and unkind? Probably so.
Serving was no longer her joy and privilege – it was a burden.
It’s so easy to get to this place where Martha is. It’s easy to feel that we have a heavier load and then to feel resentment towards the ones we are serving. But when we feel this way, we must stop and ask ourselves the question we have been pondering in this passage – Is my thinking sophron right now? Am I thinking sound, biblical thoughts? Realizing that we are serving and doing what we are doing for the Lord can bring our thoughts back to solid ground.Our thinking will change our attitude and our attitude will show in our changed actions. Out will flow acts of kindness rather than resentment.
After we’ve discussed subjects that are weighty like sophron thinking and being sober and reverent, isn’t it a little trite to end by talking about being kind? Hardly. Why? Because women set the tone of the home. We’ve heard the saying, If momma ain’t happy, nobody’s happy. There is much truth to that!
Kindness begins at home! Our family should get the first of our efforts and energies. The baked bread, the home cooked meal, the kind gestures that we fuss over for our guests. Let it be done FIRST for our family.
We must remember that we first learned kindness from our Savior.
Titus 3 For we ourselves also were sometimes foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful and hating one another.
4 But after the kindness and love of God our Savior toward man appeared, He saved us not by works of righteousness which we had done, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration, and by the renewing of the Holy Ghost,
Kindness is at the end of the list of traits in Titus 2. It’s a fitting ending, reminding us that all that comes before it must be done wrapped in the beauty of kindness, the type Jesus has towards us every day. Having a kind attitude truly does change the atmosphere. Even if you have to do something hard, like rebuke a child, entertain guests when you feel ill prepared, or have a conversation on the phone with a needy person, if we ask the Lord to give us His kindness, the situation will be far more pleasant for our own heart, as well as the one we are encountering!
Look back over the last couple of days and ask the Lord if your attitude has portrayed kindness or resentment. The blessing is that even if we’re convicted of wrong motives, the kindness of our Savior forgives us when we confess!
Refresh your attitude of service to one of kindness.