By Pastor Ben Hill (reproduced with permission)
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.” Galatians 5:22-23
Glen Campbell sang:
If you see your brother standing by the road
With a heavy load from the seeds he’s sowed
And if you see your sister falling by the way
Just stop and say, “You’re going the wrong way”
You got to try a little kindness, yes show a little kindness
Just shine your light for everyone to see
And if you try a little kindness then you’ll overlook the blindness
Of narrow-minded people on the narrow-minded streets
Now to those of us who are old enough to the remember the song, and now have it “stuck” in our heads I say, “You’re welcome!”
Kindness…of all the fruits of the Spirit, this one is perhaps the most innately understood. Most everyone we meet has some idea of what kindness is, and can recognize kindness where it exists and where it doesn’t. Kindness doesn’t require any special knowledge; it is free, doesn’t need a program and doesn’t require special permission. No. Kindness is the simple act of being…well, KIND.
To express the love and grace of God necessitates kindness. How willing is someone going to be to listen to the Gospel if the one “preaching” it isn’t first and foremost kind?! The legalist shouts “truths” with condemnation while feeling secure in their self-righteousness. However, the Holy Spirit-led and passionate Christ follower wraps everything in a blanket of kindness and ministers grace and Truth to the community around them.
Another thought: As I typed the word “kind,” I was reminded of my niece, Kylie. She used to work for the KIND Snack company, and stocked us up well with their delicious snack bars. I remember thinking at the time how ironic it was because Kylie is by nature such a lovingly kind person! Well, curiosity kicked in and I did some quick research on the company; and there it is, where the name came from… it is just that, kindness. Their communicated goal is to 1) foster kindness to the body by using all natural ingredients; 2) Be kind to taste buds by making them taste great; and 3) Try to spread kindness through communities, country and the world.
Well, snack bars by themselves won’t get it done, but Jesus can! “Try a little kindness…” today and tomorrow and on and on… watch what the Lord does as we show the world the “kinder, gentler, loving side” of the church.
Some people wonder what we do at Life In Abundance (LIA). They may already know that we offer pastoral counseling, but they may wonder what it’s really like to enter into our ministry as a woman in need. As a potential client, they may wonder if they will be understood, validated and met with compassion, or if they will be met with judgement and legalism. They may wonder if anyone will be able to meet them in the pain they are experiencing, and if anyone – for the first time – will actually listen to them. They may wonder what will happen if they are finally able to share their hearts – their deepest thoughts and experiences (no matter how confused, dark or ugly) – without receiving condemnation or judgement.
Counseling can be a scary thing to undertake – lots of unknowns, lots of vulnerability, lots of potentially overwhelming feelings. The LIA support team (both counselors, administrative staff and volunteers) understands what it takes for some of our clients just to make the initial call to schedule an appointment, much less to walk through our door for their first appointment and complete the paperwork. Our support team does a wonderful job of making our office a warm and safe environment for our clients to begin their journeys of healing.
Many of our clients have had previous experiences in counseling through secular practices and are happy to note the difference that pastoral counseling has made in their lives. I think most of our clients would tell you that they have been pleasantly surprised by their experiences with LIA. Most would tell you that they feel received, heard, and loved. Most would also tell you that through their counseling relationships with the LIA counselors, they have experienced appropriate transparency, compassion, love, and biblical truth.
At Life In Abundance, we are honored that the Lord allows us to walk with our clients as He facilitates the healing process within their lives. It’s something we don’t take lightly. Pastoral counseling is a specific calling on the lives of our counselors, and each of us recognizes that.
As the founder and Executive Director of Life In Abundance, my heart’s desire is to see the women who come to LIA experience healing by developing an authentic relationship with Jesus. So many of us have been taught who Jesus is, but have never really experienced an authentic relationship with Him. As a result, when we find ourselves in a place of suffering or crisis (think disciples in the boat during the storm, Luke 8:24), our limited experience with Him, along with our limited understanding of who He is and how He sees us, ultimately fails us. Many of us have a lot of biblical head knowledge, but it’s by authentic experience with Him that He moves that knowledge into our hearts. That process is truly life-changing (think about Jesus sleeping in the boat as the storm raged around it). I don’t know about you, but I want the peace that Jesus had in the boat when I find myself in the midst of a storm. At LIA, our objective is to point our precious clients back to the One whom ‘even the wind and the waves obey’, Luke 8:25) We consistently do that through effective pastoral counseling and discipleship with our clients.
If you want to experience the healing impact of pastoral counseling as you work through a situational difficulty or crisis, please give our office a call at 864-451-7898.