Our country is starving for kindness.
We are desperate for joy.
We are longing for peace.
This year a video of a woman putting on a Chewbacca mask and laughing hysterically went viral on social media within moments of being posted. All she was doing was laughing. We are desperate for Joy.
This year, every major news outlet shared the story of a woman who accidentally texted a lonely teenager about Thanksgiving dinner and ended up inviting him into their home to share that holiday. We are starving for kindness.
This year, a video of a black man and a white police officer embracing and praying for peace together was viewed 1.5 million times within the first 24 hours and was shared across the world in that same time. We are longing for peace.
Our children are being raised in a time where feeding someone dinner is worthy of a national headline. Where two people praying together gets worldwide attention. Where a woman genuinely laughing is a novelty so unusual it leads to a global conversation.
As we come upon this new year, many of us are making resolutions, setting goals, and planning for the future. I have plenty of those I could make. We all do.
But what are all those things without kindness, joy, and peace? If we reach every goal, but don’t experience joy, what legacy are we leaving? If we achieve every resolution, but don’t know what it is to have peace, what have we really achieved? And if things actually go as planned (which we all know is a rare exception) but kindness is a afterthought, what has really been gained?
What if we gain the whole world…but lose our soul? (Mark 8:36)
Our kids need us to make these things; kindness, joy and peace, a priority.
Our resolutions need to be to show them the things that are missing in this world.
Resolve to show kindness.
Actually plan for it. Find a tangible way to be kind. Write it in our planners. Put in on our calendars. Show that kindness is a normal practice in the lives of a believer.
Celebrate with great Joy!
Not just on holidays, but in the everyday. Take the opportunity to laugh if it is offered. Stop for a second and look for joy around you. Capture it with your children and celebrate it together. Resolve to look up and out more often for the things that bring joy and share that with those around you, especially the children.
Go after it with intensity. Seek reconciliation. “Turn from evil and do good. Seek peace and pursue it” (Ps. 34:14). There is so much hurt in our country and in our world. There are so many opportunity we have to pursue peace. Perhaps it is reaching out to a disenfranchised people group. Perhaps it is bringing cookies to your neighbor. Whatever it is, pursue it. And invite your children into it with you.
These things; kindness, joy, peace, they all have something in common. They are listed among the fruits of the Spirit in Galatians 5:22,23
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.
So, ultimately, our goal for 2017 is really to bear more fruit. And the only way to do that is to abide in Christ (John 15:5). We can’t abide in politics or legislation or social justice and bear more of this fruit. We cannot abide in sports or clubs or hobbies and bear more of this fruit. We can’t even abide in church or ministry or parenting and bear this fruit. We can be fully present in all these places but we should be abiding in Christ.
We can offer our children, our world, the things that make their hearts feel again. The things that go viral. The things we are desperately longing for, starving for.
I want to try. This year I want to resolve to show kindness, to celebrate with great joy, and to seek peace and pursue it. I want to leave a legacy for my kids that is full of hope, anticipation, and expectation for the future. Don’t we all want that?
Abide. Bear fruit. Be kind. Be joyful. Pursue peace.
Five resolutions that could literally change the world.
Happy New Year, friends. Let’s make 2017 mean something.
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About this Blog
Refocus Ministry was started by Christina Embree, wife to Pastor Luke, mom to three wonderful kids, and family minister at Nicholasville UMC. She is passionate about seeing churches partnering with families to encourage faith formation at home and equipping parents to disciple their kids in the faith. She recently graduated with a Masters of Arts in Ministry focusing on Family, Youth and Children’s Ministry at Wesley Seminary, she also blogs at www.refocusministry.org and is a contributing blogger at D6 Family and Seedbed