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Spiritual Training Cycle: Foundation (wk. 11/13)


I have a friend who recently went through a difficult loss. When I found out the news, I was devastated for him – he had lost one of his parents. Having been through the loss of both my mom and my dad, I had some understanding of how he must have been feeling. When I got over to his house, the two of us stood there quietly as the silence was all the noise we needed in the moment. A kind word, a short prayer, and a hug later, I was back in my car on the way home. It was easy to see in our time together that my friend wasn’t in a good position.


Position matters. It certainly matters in the gym. Because if your position is off, problems are not far behind. And sometimes all it takes is a subtle change in position, especially when it comes to the mental side of fitness, where confidence is king, but arrogance is dangerous. Yet as a coach, you can’t always distinguish between the two. What looks to be confidence can just as easily be arrogance. That’s why the coach/athlete relationship is so crucial. As you come to know someone, you learn how to identify their confident position.


And knowing what a healthy position looks like creates the benchmark to identify an unhealthy position. Like my friend who lost a parent, even though he looked the same, his head space wasn’t good. And no amount of effort on my part was going to change that. Healthy position is essential to healthy purpose in life – both physically and spiritually.


The same is true with the spiritual skill of kindness. Kindness is lending our strength to someone who needs it. And kindness has a position. It’s a combination of humility, mercy, and justice. When you show genuine kindness to someone, there’s no expectation of anything in return. The strength they need is being provided by you in the form of a no-interest loan. Whether that’s helping someone cross the street or listening to a co-worker’s problems or standing in silence during a friend’s difficult moment, your position matters.


Because kindness has an impostor – it’s called niceness. Actually, it’s more commonly known as being nice, but I had the whole “-ness” suffix thing going so I ran with it. Being nice and being kind are not the same. They’re not even close. It takes a marginal amount of effort to be nice. You can keep it high level when you’re nice. You can even dot someone right in the eye while being nice. In the South, they have a phrase for it – “Bless your heart.”


I’ve heard some Southern ladies dress up an insult or two with a, “bless your heart.” And while I’m not saying bless your heart is bad or that there isn’t a time and a place to be nice, I believe God is calling us to more. He’s calling us to the healthier position of kindness for the purpose of helping more people feel His love. Micah 6:8 says:


He has shown you, O mortal, what is good.    And what does the Lord require of you?To act justly and to love mercy    and to walk humbly with your God.


And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God. This is the position of kindness.


Questions for Reflection:

How does kindness operate in your life?


Do you think there’s a difference between being kind and being nice? If so, what is it?

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