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When I was a child I was an ardent reader of L. Frank Baum's Land of Oz books. I recently came across Rinkitink in Oz with all the original artwork. I laughed again at the antics of Baum's irrepressible, good-hearted King Rinkitink with his down-to-earth goodness. Young Prince Inga described him best: “His heart is kind and gentle and that is far better than being wise."
How simple and how sensible! Yet who has not wounded the heart of someone dear to us by a harsh word? By doing so, we disturb the peace and quiet of the hour and we can undo much of the good we have done toward those we love. "A small unkindness is a great offense,” said Hannah More, an 18th-century English writer.
Here’s the good news: Anyone can become kind. We may be incapable of preaching an inspiring sermon, fielding hard questions, or evangelizing vast numbers, but we can all be kind.
How? Through prayer. It is the only way to soften our hearts. “Set a guard over my mouth, Lord; keep watch over the door of my lips. Do not let my heart be drawn to what is evil [or harsh]” (Ps. 141:3–4).
In a world in which love has grown cold, a kindness that comes from the heart of God is one of the most helpful and healing things we can offer to others.
Forgive me, Lord, when I bring anger into a situation. Soften my heart and help me use my words to encourage others.
The knowledge that God has loved me beyond all limits will compel me to go into the world to love others in the same way. Oswald Chambers
One of the experiences that shaped David's life—and his psalms—was his time as a refugee from a homicidal King Saul. David had two opportunities to usher in the fulfillment of his anointing as king by killing Saul (chs. 24, 26), and both times he was encouraged to do so by some of his followers. However, he did not kill Saul but left the situation in God’s hands. It may be these instances specifically that are at the root of the words of Psalm 141. The God who gave David strength to avoid evil deeds continues to offer help to us when we are faced with temptation. When have you asked God to help you resist a temptation in your life?