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Weekly Devotionals

The Kindness of God

“Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, forbearance and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness is intended to lead you to repentance?” – Romans 2:4

As I write this devotional to be posted on November 1st, many of us are eagerly waiting to transition into “Living with Covid.” Some of us are full of hope, some cynical, some anxious, some ambivalent…or a mix of all of those depending on the hour! As I think of all of us transitioning into this next phase of Covid-life here in Korea, I’m reminded of a blog post I recently read. The blog post was written by someone in the US in the middle of this past summer 2021. The author wrote of a summer packed with nonstop gatherings, travel, and an almost incessant parade of weddings. This person wrote how they were so excited to be able to DO things again that they packed their calendar full and it was fun…sort of. They felt like they should be having fun- this is what they wanted after all, right? And yet they were still tired and numb. The author wrote to remind readers to move slowly and gently forward in this new season because “we are still exhausted.”

Yes, we are exhausted. And even as our world opens up wider, our exhaustion and our pain- it won’t just go away. We have been living in a state of heightened stress. When this happens, our bodies adjust to a higher level of stress as the set point. Chronic or repeated stress creates significant wear and tear on our bodies. We are borrowing from our already depleted energy stores to simply function. When we find ourselves in this state we tend to respond in a few different ways: we may try to push ourselves even further (increasing the energy debt), we may shut down and isolate ourselves, or commonly we judge ourselves for not being able to think clearer, do more, or to simply be able to “handle it.”

It’s interesting to me how we the people of God, who have experienced such grace and believe in the abundant love of God resort to harsh self-talk to “help” ourselves. We believe that if we do not have love, we gain nothing (1 Cor 13: 3). The truth is, judgement and self-contempt are not what will restore our tired bodies and souls. We read in Romans 2:4 that the kindness of God leads to repentance. In the Greek, the word for repentance used is “metanoia” which means a “transformative change of mind.” What will change our lives and our thinking is not pushing ourselves harder or critiquing ourselves when we fall short. What will heal us is the love- the abundant, overflowing kindness and compassion of God.

It can actually be challenging to offer this kindness to ourselves. It often requires taking smaller steps than we might want. And when going slower or the things we can do don’t feel enough, we are prone to sabotage ourselves, to say “why bother- it won’t be enough to change anything.” However, when we do this, we rejoin powerlessness and sabotage our own steps towards renewal, healing, and repentance.

Let’s practice the kindness of God to ourselves as we move forward in this new season. We can take small steps forward but, in every move, may we proceed with great love, compassion and kindness.

Blessings to you all this week.