“Blended families.” Many times those two words conjure up many other words – like dysfunctional, broken, destructive, and bitter, Sadly, these are words that characterize many adults in a blended family.
I want to suggest that you travel a different path – a path that would honor God and His way of doing things; whether you are a blended family, single-parent family, or a traditional one.
Colossians 3:12 says, “As God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.” The word I find interesting in this verse is “clothe.”
This tells us kindness doesn’t just happen, but rather, we make the choice to put on and “wear” kindness. So here are five ways to help you put on a cloak of kindness.
First, we need to be sensitive. Philippians 2:4 plainly states “Each of you should look not only to your own interest, but also to the interest of others.” So take a look around you and open your heart and eyes to the needs of those you come in contact with. Start with your husband and children, and then branch out to those you work with. Next, broaden that spectrum to strangers and store clerks. Instead of living in a “me, me, me” state of thinking, stop and check out what is happening around you.
Second, be supportive. Proverbs 15:4 (in the Good News translation) says, “Kind words bring life, but cruel words crush your spirit.” Then in Proverbs 10:32 it says, “Righteous people know the kind thing to say but the wicked are always saying things that hurt.” Ouch! I know I’ve missed that mark numerous times. To be supportive means to build up. Where can you add a few support beams today?
Third, be sympathetic. Romans 12:15 says, “When others are happy, be happy with them. If they are sad, share their sorrow.” I was in a room with 24 other women the other night and we took turns sharing our struggles. I think we cried with almost every woman as she shared a hardship she was working through. Then we had the joy of laughter as the oldest woman shared how she had asked Jesus in her life at a Barnum and Bailey Circus. It was precious.
Fourth, be straightforward. This is a delicate matter – to care enough to confront somebody. Proverbs 27:6 says that “wounds from a friend are better than kisses from an enemy.” When you have a friend who is headed down a path of destruction, in a loving way speak to them honestly and openly. That “wound” will heal whereas the kiss from an enemy might bring death.
Lastly, be spontaneous. Galatians 6:10a says, “As we have opportunity, let us do good to all people.” Yes, even the ex-wife! You have many opportunities every day to make a small difference. The things you do and the things you say will have an impact on those around you.
Your husband’s mood can be swayed by your decision to be a “people builder” or a demolition crew. Your children will be watching you closely and most likely mimic your words and actions. I know mine did – especially the things I did and said that were wrong!
If kindness isn’t something that comes easily for you, I encourage you to train yourself to put that virtuous character trait on. The Bible tells us in Proverbs 11:17, “A kind man benefits himself, but a cruel man brings himself harm.” And then we cannot forget the golden rule found in Matthew 7:12: “Do to others what you would have them do to you.”
In your blended family, God has given you the perfect opportunity to learn how to put on a little kindness. Go wear it!
Blessings in Your Blending!