The Porch Light copyright by Revka (2006-2010). All rights reserved.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Kill 'Em with Kindness (Part 2)

(If you missed it, you need to read Kill 'Em with Kindness Part 1 before you read today's post.)

Yesterday, I left off at the time when I found out that the family was moving, and the mom still had my favorite solo songbook.

I once again asked for my book. This time, she said that she had already returned it to me. I knew very well I had never received the book and tried to convince her of that fact. She searched all her music at home and failed to find my book before she moved. *sigh*

After a few months, Mr. Incredible decided I needed to replace the book. When we finally made the trip to Raleigh, we stopped at Burrage Music (my very favorite music store ever!), and within minutes (and at the expense of $19.99 plus tax), I was once again the happy possessor of Low Voice Classics.

But this saga doesn't end there. Oh, no, sir! This past fall, a couple of months after I re-purchased the songbook, the family moved back to our area. Every time I saw any member of the family, which was often since we attend the same church, I was reminded of the $40 they had cost me - $20 for cards and $20 for the book... my favorite book! (Nah, I don't hold grudges.)

Three weeks ago, I was walking up the aisle to play for Sunday morning service when the mom waved me down. Her face was absolutely lit up with happiness and excitement.

"Mrs. Stearns! You'll never guess what I found!" and she waved my missing book.

This is the part where I become like Judas Iscariot, the part that inspired my title. Here's what she heard me say.

"Oh, I already got another one. Don't worry about it."

With those words, her face lost all happiness and excitement. But I wasn't done.

"You keep it. I don't need two."

"Are you sure?" she asked.

"Yes, I already bought another one."

"How much was it? Let me pay you for it."

"It's whatever the price says on the book - $20 or $25. But don't worry about it."

"Are you sure? I feel so bad now!"

"It's fine. Don't worry about it. You just got yourself a free book." and I gave her a hug.

Ah, how sweet and kind of me, right? WRONG!!! Here's what I was actually thinking - inserted into the previous conversation, bracketed and bold.

"Mrs. Stearns! You'll never guess what I found!" and she waved my missing book.

"Oh, I already got another one. Don't worry about it. [Of course you found it! I told you you had it! Now you can have it; I don't want it.]"

With those words, her face lost all happiness and excitement. But I wasn't done.

"You keep it. I don't need two. [Here, let me force-feed it to you - taste good?]"

"Are you sure?" she asked.

"Yes, I already bought another one. [Did you hear that? Because of you, I wasted money buying another book, and if you had just listened to me when I told you you still had my book, I wouldn't have had to do that!]"

"How much was it? Let me pay you for it."

"It's whatever the price says on the book - $20 or $25. But don't worry about it. [Did you hear that? $20-$25! That I didn't need to spend! BECAUSE OF YOU!!!]"

"Are you sure? I feel so bad now!"

"It's fine. Don't worry about it. You just got yourself a free book. [I hope it bugs you every time you see it. I hope it gags you and makes you choke. I hope it makes you feel TERRIBLE.]" and I gave her a hug.
That's some difference, isn't it? The first conversation makes me seem giving, kind, and forgiving. The second one - the one with my heart revealed - shows that I was none of those things but was something very different instead: hateful, unforgiving, ugly, and vindictive.

Is kindness really kindness when it springs from anything but pure motives? No, I don't believe it is. Oh, it may be cloaked in a disguise of kindness, but it can actually be malice. Kill 'em with kindness? You betcha! Especially the killing part.

Somehow, I don't think that's what Jesus had in mind when He told us to turn the other cheek and to heap coals of fire on our enemy's head.

So once again I have failed. This time, I chose to make that failure public. I made that choice for one reason: to demonstrate that I'm just a sinner saved by grace. I can be as much of a hypocrite as any other person in the world. I can be just as malicious, just as devious, just as vengeful, just as sinful.

It is only by God's help and by a deliberate choosing to die to self that I (or anyone else) can truly exhibit God's kindness and love toward those who have hurt me. And only then can we "kill 'em with kindness" - true kindness that flows from the heart without malice or hypocrisy.

illustration courtesy of


Karen_thrifty said...

You're killing me. You were so nice to her. I have a hard time with this, as you know. I can't stand to be taken advantage of or wronged. It's just so hard. There's a lot of me that needs to be changed, but it will certainly take God's help. :)

Revka said...

But I wasn't at all kind to her. I deliberately acted nice and sweet about the book in order to make her feel bad about it. That's also why I told her to keep the book - I wanted her to remember the whole thing and feel terrible every time she saw it or used it.

She thought I was being nice, but I was actually being vindictive, vengeful, and hateful. I fooled her, but I sure didn't fool God or my conscience.

Anonymous said...

That was a very inspiring story and so much a part of people's personality (including my own sometime). I think forgiveness the way God wants us to forgive takes alot of self-discipline and love for our brethren. Having acknowledged the fact that you were being vindictive, vengeful, etc. what is your next step to do. I know allowing her to borrow things is out of the question but will you still speak to this lady or will you go across the church and ignore her and her family? I commend you and have the upmost respect for you to have posted that. We can all learn from our past experiences and those of others.

Revka said...

No, I won't (and don't) ignore her or her family. I'm still friendly toward them.

In fact, they are a military family (hence the various moves) and are getting ready to move to their new station in another country. I found out a while ago that commissaries allow the use of expired coupons, so I gave her the 1000+ coupons I'd been saving to send to Coupons for Troops and told her to make sure to give me her APO/FPO address so I can continue sending her coupons to use while they are over there.

Anonymous said...

You are the kindest true blue Christian I have seen in a long time. May God Bless you and your family for your kindness.

A Dusty Frame said...

Well, I was going to say that sometimes we all have an initial response of anger or selfishness, but it is good to behave correctly.
But then you said you acted nice on purpose to make her feel bad;)

So, you know what you did was wrong and God convicted you--that's good!

Maybe you should think of something else to give her that feels costly to you to help you get past this--whether or not SHE deserves it know what I mean?

Revka said...

I think you're the first one who has really "gotten" what I did, Lizzie. It was not at all kind of me. I know your suggestion is a good one because every ounce of me rebels at the thought of giving her anything else of value to me. :)

So I will pray about the idea and see what the Lord would have me do. Thanks for the suggestions

Tanyetta said...

I LOVE these stories.

Revka, you're so nice.

$20 for a box of greeting cards? Yeah, they saw you coming a mile away. :)

As far as your mom is concerned, I'm sorry this happened. You know she's probably a pack rat or something and lost it in the 'rubble'?? Hey, I have nothing nice to say about my mom so, I will do my best to just say I hope things work out with yours ;)

You're a sweet person and you're a work in progress. Your relationship with GOD is growing daily and this was just one of the trials he puts us through to see how we'll respond to it.

LOL at you being all NICE-NASTY!


Revka said...

Hey, Tanyetta, the cards aren't a bad deal. There were 50 cards. At $20 for the box, that's less than $.50 per card - better than Dollar Tree, even. :)

And the person wasn't MY mom; she was the mom of the boy who sold me the cards that I never received.

Yeah, who'd've thunk that nice could really be mean? LOL!