I must not just accept that God is kind, I must embrace his kindness as my own.
Feinberg says that kindness is largely learned: God displays his kindness through people who give us mini lessons of kindness. When we grow close to God, we can’t help but encounter his kindness.
That kindness invites us to recognize the needs of others and take the steps necessary to meet those needs.
Feinberg recognizes that there are people in the world who are “unappreciative, difficult to be around, or down right obnoxious.” How are you kind to these people? How are we to “love our enemies” (Luke 6.35-36). She gives some pointers, starting with looking inward. “I’m forced to reflect on just how kind or unkind I really am.”
The full text that instructs us to love our enemies goes on to say, “do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back.”
Feinberg adds …
The hard truth is, when I show kindness, I expect something in return … a sense of satisfaction, a smile on a person’s face, or a word of thanks.
Feinberg’s first word of advice is, “Drop your expectations,” and her second word of advice is, “People cannot give you what they do not have.” She goes on to explain that there is a freedom in realizing that people cannot give what they do not have.
This realization can set us free to be kind again. There’s “a renewal or restoration” that “takes place when I give up the sense that I am owed something. … I can give freely, not expecting anything in return. I can put aside the fear of exploitation” (that I am being taking advantage of).
I believe Feinberg has discovered the gold mine of kindness. As we set out to offer kindness to others, we will be tested. Sometimes our reservoirs will seem depleted. But these two tips will help us grow.
And we must remember to draw on the reservoir of God’s kindness, “the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy” (Titus 3.3-4).