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Love Is Kind – But Not Indulgent - Especially in a Pandemic

Love Is Kind – But Not Indulgent - Especially in a Pandemic

Posted by Kenny Vaughan on 17th May 2020

Excerpts from “The Right Fight: How to Live a Loving Life” by John Kennedy Vaughan

“I have rarely met anyone who isn’t kind to those who are kind to them.

“Only those whose lives are totally ruled by fear might choose to be unkind to those who are kind to them.

“But if we want love ruling our lives, we must be kind no matter how others treat us. Being kind when we don’t feel like it can mean a couple different things. Sometimes it just means what it sounds like: being kind and doing the right thing, putting others first even when they are not kind to us or when we don’t want to.

“There is another type of kindness, though, that is so important. This is the kindness that means being kind even when it does not mean being nice or polite. Letting others have their way all the time—indulgence—is often mistaken for kindness and love. In reality, it is selfishness and fear. Kind is always nice—in the long run—but niceness in the short run may not always be kind.

“If we are not careful, our feelings of love for someone will keep us from really loving them. For example, nothing makes me happier than seeing my children happy. If I am not careful, I will let them get away with living a selfish life because stopping them would require dispensing with short-term niceness and indulgence of everything they wish to do. This may hurt their feelings, which in turn hurts me. Allowing them to be selfish to spare myself the pain of hurting their feelings is not love; it is fear and selfishness.

“Sometimes, kindness means allowing others to experience pain that will make them stronger and help them live a more loving life. Sometimes, kindness means holding others accountable even when it may hurt their feelings. Allowing those in our charge to give in to their selfishness or disrespect others because we claim we are protecting them is not kind at all; it is putting them on the path of living a disrespectful life. Being kind is doing what we believe is truly best for others, even if it hurts right now or costs us something.”

Because of the quarantine, many families have been experiencing more time together than they are used to. Relationships are being tested, renewed, built up or broken down. Close quarters can produce a pressure cooker of angry and fearful emotions; or time spent together in close quarters – planted with selfless love – can produce the growth of a garden terrarium planted and blooming and stemming from strong roots.

Selfless love puts the well-being of others over self and is based on truth, not indulgence. The Bible tells us to speak the truth in love. We speak the truth, even when others might react negatively about the truth that we share with them. We speak the truth in a loving way, with intent to make their lives more fruitful. The roots of selfless love built on truth grow strong healthy foundations that tender healthy individuals in healthy relationships. Selfish, fearful love built on indulgence and false flattery grows unhealthy, fearful, enabling individuals and trains them to seek and create dysfunctional relationships that grow no roots and produce no fruit.

We can make this time worth something. During our time in quarantine together, it’s not a time out from our families, but a time to go to work on our relationships. With our families, we can make positive or negative memories. The positive comes from always speaking the truth in love and remembering that – especially when life seems tough and confusing – that love is the same: always patient, kind, truthful, protecting of others, trusting, hopeful and persevering.

Laus Deo,