Domestic Kindness

Here’s a thought experiment:  Think of all the opportunities we have each day in our homes to bestow kindness. Call it domestic kindness. We don’t have to look far to find hundreds of ways to be kind.

1. “And be kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ  forgave you’ (Eph. 4:32). From this verse we can see two aspects of kindness, but let’s look first at how kindness is forgiving. How many times in a day can we extend forgiveness? Sometimes it is asked for; sometimes it isn’t. But each time we forgive, we are being kind.

2. And from the same verse, how many times in a day can we be tenderhearted? How many opportunities arise that call for sympathy or pity? How often can we give a kiss, a hug, a word of tenderness, a band-aid, a glass of water? Tender hearts respond in kindness; hard hearts can’t be bothered. Tender hearts are up in the night with sick kids or hungry babies.

3. I Corinthians 13:4 begins with this: “Love suffers long and is kind…” Kindness doesn’t watch the clock with a tapping foot, but is willing to wait. Kindness doesn’t mind when the children have to be reminded…again. Or when they ask the same question….again. Perhaps it’s not a child, but an elderly loved one. When we are patient, we are being kind.

4. God’s kindness is abundant  “But you are God, ready to pardon, gracious and merciful, slow to anger, abundant in kindness…” (Neh. 9:17). We have opportunities galore, which means we can be abundant in kindness too. God is ready to extend kindness. Are we ready?

5. “Blessed be the Lord, For He has shown me His marvelous kindness…” (Ps. 31:21). God’s kindness is evident; He has shown it to us. And we have seen that it is extraordinary, marvelous, and amazing. That’s the sort of kindness we are to be imitating….and we should be showing it to the people in our homes. They should see it, receive it, and be surprised at it!

6. “For His merciful kindness is great toward us…” (Ps. 117.2). God’s kindness is immense. Huge. Women have many opportunities to show loads and tons of merciful kindness, day in and day out. It may be a meal for a hungry toddler, a famished teenager, or a weary husband.  It may be clean sheets, socks in the drawer, and an ironed shirt in the closet. These are mercies, and they are very kind.

7.  “She opens her mouth with wisdom, and on her tongue is the law of kindness” (Prov. 31.26). Words are a central means of extending kindness. In this verse, a mother’s law is governed by kindness. When she lays down the law, it is not done in anger, but is wise and kind. If we could look over the script of our spoken words at the end of each day, would we see kindness?

8. “For My kindness shall not depart from you, Nor shall My covenant of peace be removed” (Isaiah 54:10). Our people should be confident in our kindness. This means our kindness must not be erratic, sometimes kind, sometimes unkind. God’s kindness is immoveable. He is committed to His people and has covenanted with us. Our kindness should  not be occasional, but regular. Our families should be able to presume upon our kindness the way we presume on God’s.

9.  “Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another…” (Rom. 12:10). Kindness is affectionate. It is not theoretical; it is practical. It is hands on. It’s a welcome home and a hug. It’s “tell me about your day” and really listening. It’s eye contact and interest. Kindness is an engaged affection.

10. Kindness can be ladled up into bowls in the kitchen. It can be folded up and stacked in the drawers. It can be spoken or it can listen. Kindness starts with God, and He gives it to us so we can give it to one another. If we think of a kindness, it is wise to do it. Sometimes we talk ourselves out of bestowing kindness because it costs us. But when we extend kindness, we are doing our own souls good and blessing one another.

There is always the temptation to do good to others, somewhere else. But we should not think about moving out and beyond our family to extend ourselves unless it is an overflow. Jesus had things to say about the Pharisees who were doing good to others and ignoring their own families. We begin at home, then to our church community, and beyond. That’s the order given in Scripture. But that’s just a helpful list of priorities, not a prohibition to to keep us from doing good and showing kindness everywhere.

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27 thoughts on “Domestic Kindness

  1. Thank you for this. I am home this morning from church with my pink-eye infected children :o)

    Great thoughts for me to meditate on now and into this week. Point 8 especially hit home for me. Can my family count on my kindness? No, in all honesty it is sporadic…..sometimes there but often missing completely from my responses and actions. I want to work on that aspect of kindness very intentionally this week, thanks again!

  2. Thank you, Nancy! This is the exhortation I needed today, as I raced home from church to give my overly-tired toddler and baby a nap after church. While my husband feeds the flock, I am to be spreading kindness in my own little flock at home :) Now, off to get the baby!

  3. I just wanted to tell you how much of an encouragement your blog is to me. You are so wise, Nancy, which I appreciate beyond words. Thank you for being so consistent in your godly wisdom.

  4. As someone with four small children, a baby on the way and an aging grandma living with us as well… I really, really needed to read this. Point 3 especially hit home. Thank you.

  5. This is all so helpful, and that last paragraph smacked me right in the head. It’s easy to sort of climb over the people I live with as I hustle off to serve somebody who lives outside our home. I need to remember to show that kindness within my own walls first.
    Thanks!

  6. Love it, goes nicely with the “Loving the Little Years” exhortations from your beautiful daughter (which I read in Jan.) I am benefitting greatly from these teachings to show much mercy and grace at home. It’s not something I had thought about-I was always focused on the stern part of getting my kids to behave and I was taking much offense at the “bad” things they did too. Thank you so much for investing time in us peeps you don’t even know!

  7. Thank you for this, Nancy. I am reading Philip Ryken’s book “Loving the Way Jesus Loves” and this goes right along with his chapter on “love is kind.” It is so convicting to me – just this morning while reading about how love is NOT irritable, I got irritable with my 2 year old! God’s love never fails; mine certainly does, but I am thankful for your blog posts that keep reminding us of how our Christianity works out in such practical ways!!

  8. “Our families should be able to presume upon our kindness the way we presume on God’s.”

    That’s a good ouch! It’s hard not to want our families to be impressed by our service, all the time, with us even as we completely take for granted God’s patience and love for us.

  9. Had just been struck by this on Saturday – “A kindhearted woman gains respect, but ruthless men gain only wealth.” Proverbs 11:16

  10. Boy, I sure needed to read this! Thanks for the reminder that kindess starts at home, and that it’s not time or energies wasted.

  11. KINDNESS DOESNT ALWAYS HAVE TO BE PLANNED. ONE NEVER KNOWS WHEN AN ACT OF KINDNESS IS LOOKING YOU IN THE EYE. JUST HAVE TO RECOGNIZE IT. SPORADIC IS GOOD!

  12. Nancy,
    Thank you for the encouragement continue in domestic kindness – what a great term. Good words.
    Blessings to you,
    Jo

  13. I love the words “domestic kindness.” It just sounds like something you can heap up and snuggle down into.

  14. Thank you for all you and Douglas have done for a lot of us with your wisdom and words in marriage, life and with children. I know none of us are perfect but your writings and teachings have helped us raise our seven children where we are a blessed blended family with five young adults, two married and two under eighteen and all serving the Lord.

  15. I read this when first posted, and it has been a continuous blessing as we adapt to living in an apartment after living in houses for 13 years. :)Things run so much better on kindness!

  16. This is such a helpful list. It is one area I recently saw as an issue in my children and read looking for answers as to how to direct them. But OH NO, unkindness is in MY heart! Thank you so much for sharing.

  17. Thank you so much for this reminder. So many points hit home for me. I am asking God to bring these thoughts to mind when they are needed in my day.

  18. Wow! Thank you for this! I feel like I need to tattoo “tender hearts respond in kindness, hard hearts can’t be bothered” on my hand! I wrote it on a post-it instead.
    I found your book The Fruit of Her Hands on Amozon in the winter and I can honestly say it has been a life changer for me. I’m a stay at home wife and mother of two and for so many years I have struggled with laziness and being selfish. After 8 years of marriage I finally understand what it looks like to honor and respect my husband, it’s folding his laundry, making his lunches and dinners and keeping his home clean!!! All these years I was looking in fancy relationship books when it was so simple as “do the laundry!”. As I read I could almost feel your words slapping me across the face (in a good way) to get my act together and see that this work is my wonderful calling from God. I reccomended this book to every woman I know and bought a copy for some. I’m currently re-reading it just to make sure it sinks in. So I wanted to say thank you, Nancy!! For sharing your wisdom with young women like me. With Gods help I can do this; one day at a time. Thank you! Blessings- Faith

  19. God bless you. Thank you so much for this post. I really needed this. Lately my husband and I have been so engrossed in our own daily tasks that we’ve found our own relationship is suffering.

    While I am a busy stay at home mom doting over our son, he is an educator working for our community. Although we are working so hard to take care of other people, when it’s time for me and my husband to re-connect, we have nothing left.

    This post has inspired me to take the time and make our marriage a priority. We have to re-invest quality time with each other as well.

    It is certainly important to show love and kindness to others, especially our own son, but I realized after this post that the kindness should start with us as parents.

    Thank you for this reminder.

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