Step 9

Kindness and Gentleness

Galatians 5:22-23 NKJV
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.

I've been thinking about kindness and gentleness a lot lately. Probably because being kind and gentle isn't natural to me like it is to other people. I've known a number of people who were constantly kind and gentle. For example, I think about one couple we know, Tom and Linda Marshall. Both of them have always been so soft spoken but willing to step up and help anyone in need. Both so kind and gentle. They always come to my mind as examples of how I should be around everyone else.

Compromise: Left, Right, Or Something Else?Premium Content

Which are you—left, right, or somewhere in the middle?

spectrumWe’re apparently programmed to think of nearly every aspect of our lives in terms of a linear continuum.

Politics provides the most obvious example. Left/right, liberal/conservative, red/blue. While most of us don’t reside at an extreme, we’re certainly conditioned to think of ourselves at least on one side or the other of center.

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A.A. 12-Step Christian Parallels: Steps 7-9Premium Content

Steps Seven through Step Nine

We have many times documented the frequent statements by A.A. co-founder Bill Wilson that his friend Rev. Sam Shoemaker was the major source of the Big Book ideas and Twelve Steps.1 In 1955, Newsweek named Shoemaker one of the ten greatest preachers in the United States.2 Shoemaker was known as a great communicator, and was described by his associate Rev. W. Irving Harris as a "Bible Christian."3

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Humility is a Two-way StreetPremium Content


Submission
In John 13, Jesus washes the disciples’ feet. It’s a well-known story, a frequently referenced model for Christ’s attitude of humble service to others. But there’s another side to the story.

Foot-washing requires a foot to wash.

In the story, Peter initially refuses to allow his friend and teacher to perform such a menial, degrading task. Jesus replies that submission isn’t optional—it’s an essential element in the interaction.

I don’t think that’s an accident. You can’t force someone to receive an expression of intimacy. If it’s a true act of humble service, the one whose feet are washed must submit.

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Christians Attitudes/Actions Toward One Another

It’s Awfully Easy to be JudgmentalPremium Content

Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to an understanding of ourselves. ~Carl Jung

He saw me glaring at him.

As he walked slowly and deliberately to his car in the handicapped-reserved space beside mine, I did everything possible to silently display my contempt. He obviously didn’t need that spot. I wanted to make sure he knew that I knew and that I disapproved.

I’m not sure why I felt the need to be the parking space police that morning. I was having a particularly hard time getting my chair situated beside my car, and I guess I wanted to vent my frustration on someone else.

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Toughest ForgivenessPremium Content

Forgiveness is giving up the possibility of a better past.
Is there someone you just can’t seem to forgive?

For some reason, forgiveness is on my mind lately. I’ve written a couple of posts (The Real Power Of Forgiveness and Forgiveness isn’t …) but it’s still poking at me. After some conversation with God (prayer) I realized that there’s one person I cannot quite seem to forgive.

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The Real Power Of ForgivenessPremium Content


To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that the prisoner was you. Lewis Smedes

I wrote an article advancing a revolutionary notion: Forgiveness isn’t... easy.

No kidding.

We all struggle to forgive when we’ve been hurt. That’s sort of obvious.

So here’s a question: If it’s so hard, why bother? Why go to all the trouble of forgiving?

Why not get revenge? Why shouldn’t I make that other person suffer? Why just let it go and let him get away with it?

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Forgiveness isn't EasyPremium Content

forgive Forgiveness isn't easy. When someone hurts me, my natural reaction is not forgiveness. How can I forgive something this bad?

Have you ever heard (or asked) that question?

Forgiveness isn’t our first impulse. We’ve all been hurt, and “letting it go” isn’t programmed into our menu of responses. We want to fight back, to hurt the one who hurt us.

The common phrase “don’t get mad, get even” sounds clever, but there’s really no such place as “even.” Revenge only perpetuates a hurtful cycle. To paraphrase Ghandi, eye for eye and tooth for tooth leaves us with a world full of toothless blind people.

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Standing in God's Strength, Not Your OwnPremium Content

Words mean something, and “therefore” is certainly no exception. As the old saying goes, when you come across the word “therefore” in the Bible, take a moment to look back at what preceded it so you’ll know what the next verses are all about.

Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall. 1 Corinthians 10:12

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