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Two weeks ago, I wrote a post called Patiently for the blog carnival. I’ll confess I already knew what I was going to write about, I just didn’t know how I would work the topic of “Patience” into it. In case you missed it, it was my first attempt at a short story. The post was about was domestic violence. The story was fictional, but statistically speaking, the scenario I described is all too real. Based upon the number of views that post received, I knew I couldn’t just leave it at one post. I needed to follow up.
So, here we are. The topic this week is “Kindness”. Again, I wondered how to work that theme into my post. Then, like an answer to prayer, this Sunday’s sermon was on that very topic. But more about that later…
Since I have never been the victim of domestic violence, I felt it would be disingenuous to attempt to write about it with any authority. I briefly corresponded via email with a survivor of domestic violence, which was the catalyst for this follow up post.
I also spoke with a friend yesterday. We’ll call her “Barbara”.*
Barbara’s story has a happy ending. After sixteen years of physical and emotional abuse, she finally broke free of the cycle and is now happily married to a great guy.
I wanted to know what the “last straw” was; what finally made her say “Enough”. Her answer was both predictable and chilling. She told me, “I just quit caring. I told him I didn’t give a shit if he beat me anymore. That’s when he started in on our oldest son.” She didn’t leave right away, but that was the beginning of the end to her nightmare. In the end, she did get away, and she is alive to tell about it.
Now, back to the topic at hand: Kindness. The following is an excerpt from Jeff’s sermon on Sunday:
1 Corinthians 13:4 tells us “Love is patient, love is kind”…
When we use the word “kind” today, we typically compare it with words like “nice” or “compassionate.” Those aren’t bad comparisons, but neither of those words goes far enough to get at the heart of what Paul is saying here.
The Greek word translated “kind” is χρηστεύομαι “chrēsteuomai, (pronounced khrā-styü’-o-mī).
It comes from the root word χρηστός “chrēstos” (pronounced khrā-sto’s)
Chrestos means “fit for use,” or “useful.”
On the most basic level, kindness MEETS NEEDS.
Barbara was fortunate. She had family and friends who were willing to meet her needs. When she finally left, a friend opened her house to Barbara and her three children. It wasn’t convenient and it wasn’t easy. But a true act of kindness seldom is.
If you know someone who is a victim of abuse, I am speaking directly to you. Ultimately, the decision to leave – to choose life – is up to them. Just understand that their abusers have convinced them they are worthless and undeserving of a better life. It is your obligation to prove to them otherwise; to provide a safe haven and your unwavering support to them. It could literally be the difference between life and death.
Meet their needs.
“The hottest place in Hell is reserved for those who in times of crisis preferred to remain neutral.” ~ Dante
This post is part of this week’s One Word Blog Carnival: Kindness, hosted by my friend Bridget Chumbley at One Word at a Time.
*A very special thanks to my friend and sister in Christ, “Barbara”. I am so grateful to know you my friend. You are a beautiful example of kindness and grace in action.