Today I woke up just like any other morning; I washed my face, prayed, and got ready to go to the gym. I’ve never been a morning person and for some reason, even though I quote this scripture every morning, “Today is the day the Lord has made, I will rejoice and be glad in it.”, it’s very hard for me to get going on a “perky” note. But today in my morning prayer, I asked God to help me to accept the day for what it is. I recognized that yesterday came and went and that He provided everything that I needed. I also recognized that tomorrow isn’t here yet, so my needs for that day will be met when it comes. Then I asked God, “Help me not to take this day for granted and to live it as fully as you purposed this day to be. I choose to be positive, I choose to rejoice, I choose you today, Jesus.”
So I went on my merry way to the gym, sitting shotgun to my dad. He’s always in a chatty mood, probably even more so in the morning. I find it a little funny that I can’t even keep my eyes open while he’s trying to have a full conversation with me. So I just sit there thinking, “Oh my God, it’s sooooo early, help me to be nice!”
The good thing is that I always feel a lot better about myself after a good cardio workout; I can finally say good morning without dragging my feet! So when we arrived back home from the gym, I prepared myself for the rest of the day. I got comfy in my reading spot on the bed and opened up the bible to see what God had to say to me today. As I read the wise words of the ancient, but still very relevant proverbs to this day, I saw these words that pretty much jumped out at me and smacked me in the face! It said, “The merciful man does good for his own soul, but he who is cruel troubles his own flesh. (Proverbs 11:17 NKJV)” I paused for a moment and chewed on these words, then I referenced the NIV, and though similar, it added a little more light to my understanding. The NIV version reads, “Those who are kind benefit themselves, but the cruel bring ruin on themselves.”
I began to savor these two versions and weighed the words in my heart. I thought to myself how the latter makes me think about what Jesus said to love our enemies and why he said it. When I am kind to those who are mean to me, I’m actually doing myself a service. My consciousness is benefited in knowing that I did not retaliate in revenge, because I know that God is just when He says that “vengeance is His to take” (Romans 12:19). My health is benefited because I don’t lose sleep over anyone, having put my trust in the Lord (Psalm 4:8). And if I’m kind in the face of humiliation, I would be humbling myself under God’s mighty hand, and God who is fair, will do His part in exalting me in due time (1 Peter 5:6-7). In contrast, the one who is cruel, really doesn’t have anything good going for them. Those who are cruel are proud, selfish, and arrogant. They may live large now but those people, with that type of stinky attitude are detestable to God (Proverbs 16:5)! They have what’s coming to them and God will take care of that person based on His sound judgement. In fact, everyone will one day, have to stand before God’s throne and give account for every good and bad thing they have done while on earth (2 Corinthians 5:10).
Then I thought about the former, though it can be understood in the same way, the wording made me think of someone who is merciful or mean to their own self. It made me think about all the times I have been so hard on myself for making mistakes, or saying a dumb thing in an awkward moment, or for beating myself up and picking myself apart for all of my imperfections and insecurities that I maginify in the mirror. Then I said to myself, “Wow, I’m so weary everyday because I’m cruel to myself! How in the world can I love my neighbor like myself if I don’t even love me?” I quickly asked the Lord for forgiveness and prayed a short but heartfelt prayer. I said, “Jesus, forgive me for this way of thinking. I accept your love for me and I reject all mean and negative thoughts. Help me to see myself through your eyes, so that I may be merciful to my soul by being positive and loving in every way. I don’t want to be cruel to myself anymore. I’m your precious treasure, and you’re my God. I love you Jesus, help me to be kind!”
I’d say that both versions are very important to consider when we think about kindness. Something that I remember frequently are wise words from my dad when he tells me: “Remember, Rosa de Saron, the only weapon the enemy can’t overcome is love. That’s why Jesus died on the cross. He died and rose again for love.”
So then, looking back to this morning’s prayer, I thank Jesus for answering me. I thank Him for providing me with the overflowing dose of kindness that I needed today. Not only for others, but also for myself. His love.