What a perfect time to ask ourselves how we can daily prepare our hearts and minds to gracefully navigate this present world with relentless kindness as our mission.
We are a nation divided on so many fronts. People are feeling afraid, sad, confused, you name the emotion and we are feeling it to a heightened degree. These feelings are often being expressed individually and collectively as anger— anger over everything from masks, to politics, to not getting everything that we ordered for curbside pick-up. It seems that this volatile world has caused many of us to have anxiety bubbling right under the surface all of the time. Let me be clear, it is not that there are not reasons for righteous anger right now; there are, but in general we are called to not let anger move us to sin. To word it more accurately and strongly, we are actually called to be kind—relentlessly kind, even in the face of posts that we disagree with, long lines everywhere because of the safety measures that have been put in place, and short tempers due to the reality of how weird reality seems right now.
Before we dive all the way into what we mean by Relentless Kindness, let’s say what it is not. It is not being boundary-less or being a doormat, or ignoring injustice. It is more to be called to live life in such an elevated way that when we do speak up, our kind speech gains attention and it is measured and thought-provoking. This way of communicating is not only Christ-like, but it has a much better way of reaching the listener, because sometimes the listener can’t understand our words because they are too busy trying to process our emotions. This type of elevated living and relentless kindness was, of course, modeled perfectly in the Bible by Jesus, but we have some (slightly less perfect) modern day examples, too. We recently lost the beautiful Chadwick Boseman. We all knew that he was an amazing actor, but as more stories of his life have begun to surface, we are learning that he was an incredible person. He represented so much for all of us but especially for those who had been under-represented far too long. Mr. Boseman gave the world a much needed hero on the big screen, but his most heroic acts were in his personal life.
First, he showed relentless kindness; and is never forgetting to pay tribute to those that showed such kindness to him. Many have described Chadwick as humble and he certainly showed that humility in remembering and paying tribute to Mr. Denzel Washington. Boseman explained how Denzel paved the way for him personally and for people of color in the industry. Not only did he pave the way, but he literally paid the way for Chadwick Boseman’s college education. Chad was so grateful and he himself was committed to paying it forward in working with other young actors and in leading by example by turning down roles that would feed into negative stereotypes. Arrogance and self-sufficiency forgets who helped you get to where you are and kindness always remembers.
Suffering with cancer at the height of his career, Chadwick Boseman told only a select few of his battle and the amazing thing is....they told NO ONE. Let’s think about that for just a moment. What type of human being could draw people of such character that not one would be tempted to share or sell Chad’s story for any amount. Those in that circle of confidence could have easily made a large sum of money as well as just the bragging rights of being so close that they were in the know. It has become obvious that Chadwick was a man of such great character that he was so loved and his closest friends were fiercely loyal to him. Mr. Boseman showed kindness as he continued to visit children who were also suffering with cancer, while he himself was in the thick of the battle. He kept a schedule that was unmistakably intentionally others focused. Then Mr. Boseman showed the most relentless kindness of all, as videos and photos showing his dramatic weightloss were widely circulated, and the trolls came out in full force, accusing him of drug abuse and saying horrible things. While people speculated and trolled, Chadwick’s friends stayed quiet in response, both keeping his secret and presumably following his usual, classy lead. He could have easily said, “I am dying of cancer and I ask for your prayers and privacy.” Instead, he just peacefully took down the videos and posts. I think more to protect his friends and family from the hurtful words and the temptation to respond, than for himself. He was a man of faith, and he could have justified that these rumors could hurt his witness or he could have said that they could damage his career. He could have used any number of valid reasons to lash out and fight back, but he stayed true to his real-life heroic character and remained kind.
Above I referred to Chadwick Boseman as a man of faith, but I think it is stronger than that, I believe that he was a true disciple. A disciple is a student and Mr. Boseman studied well the relentless kindness of Christ and lived it out in modern times right in front of us. Christ was persecuted, spit on, betrayed, tortured even unto death, but the entire time He was thinking of others. He was asking God to forgive the very people who were persecuting and torturing Him. He was on the cross making sure that someone would look after His mother and He was ministering to the thief that was dying beside Him. I think that when we look at Christ’s life and the life of Mr. Boseman, we can either find condemnation for ourselves or conviction that leads to motivation. What if the next time we felt like someone on social media needed a piece of our mind, we scrolled instead? What if the next time we saw that someone was clearly misinformed or mislead, we prayed for them or our response was measured and kind? What if we could strive to also be a bit kinder to ourselves? At Shazzy Fitness we know that the world needs more kindness right now and we are here to pursue it....relentlessly.
Week 1 – OT: Prov 11:17 ESV & NT: Eph 4:32 ESV
Week 2 – OT: Prov 31:26 ESV & NT: Col 3:12 ESV
Week 3 – OT: Prov 21:21 ESV & NT: Gal 6:10 ESV
Week 4 – OT: Prov 14:21 ESV & NT: Rom 15:2 ESV
*All verses are ESV