It is easy to show kindness when your children are respectful and obey quickly with a smile. It is easy to show kindness when they clean the living room without being told. But when they are disrespectful and make a mess instead, being kind seldom enters our minds.
But think about this. Suppose God chose to follow our example when he disciplines us for our sinful behavior? I don’t know about you, but that is a thought that terrifies me.
Being kind does not mean you don’t discipline or correct. It does not mean you roll over and give your kids control of the house. It does not mean lowering standards. Being kind means that you show God to your children. It means you follow God’s good example that he is always kind and compassionate with you, even when he disciplines you.
Do your children see two types of parents? When things go well do they see parents that are content and pleased that things are under control? However, when things enter the twilight zone of disobedience and chaos do they see parents who are upset and whose only focus is to get things back under control, no matter what it takes? Kindness seems out of place in this twilight zone. But if God’s love for you is your model, then kindness is always appropriate.
Love is patient. You are trusting that God will provide his wisdom in difficult situations. Love is kind. You are demonstrating the extraordinary holiness of God by the way you act. Your words are pleasant. Your focus is clear. Your manner is kind. Yes, there are consequences for sin. But the consequences are administered in light of the gospel grace that has been given to you.
Your middle schooler has attempted once again to hide that he has homework to do so that he can hang out with his friends. It is time to talk with him about the problems of attempting to deceive the God who sees everything he does. It is time to tell him of when you have done similar things. It is time to see how he is doing at school. It is time to do something special with him. It is time to help him reach out to you. It is a time for discipline as well. But, most of all it is a time to show love through kindness, just as God does for you in Christ.