Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Wednesday's Woe - "Be Kind"

"Be kind, for everyone is fighting a hard battle."

Quote ~Ian Maclaren (pseudonym for John Watson, 1850-1907)

Wednesday's Woe

"Be Kind"

Let's face it, we know that we are fighting a hard battle, Every. Day. And we need the kindness from one another as we struggle on. Our LORD reminds us of this too, as well as guiding us as to how best to fight through our battles. 

The graphic above says it well, "Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle." However, I believe we have wrongly attributed the saying to Plato. Wikipedia attributes the quote to Reverend John Watson (1850-1907), a Scottish author and theologian who used the pseudonym "Ian Maclaren":

"It is thought that Maclaren was the original source of the quotation “Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle,” now widely misattributed to Plato or Philo of Alexandria. The oldest known instance of this quotation is in the 1897 Christmas edition ofThe British Weekly

“Be pitiful (e.g., full of pity, or tender/kind), for every man is fighting a hard battle."

Wikipedia's assessment rings true for me as the quote does not seem to resonate with the language of the times of Plato. 

The essence of the quote, however, is elucidated best I believe in the following quote from Reverend John Watson himself:

"This man beside us also has a hard fight with an unfavouring world, with strong temptations, with doubts and fears, with wounds of the past which have skinned over, but which smart when they are touched. It is a fact, however surprising. 
And when this occurs to us we are moved to deal kindly with him, to bid him be of good cheer, to let him understand that we are also fighting a battle; we are bound not to irritate him, nor press hardly upon him nor help his lower self."

Amen! May we all be as kind as we possibly can to one another!

On the evening of Mother's Day, Tommy and I watched a movie (foreign, with subtitles) that had been nominated for an Academy Award. It was a very difficult movie to watch in that it included much of the worst of human nature, but then again Tommy always reminds me, we forget that the Bible is full of horrendous human acts played out in the midst of families... 

This movie was one of those tragic stories that challenge you to the pit of your gut, heart, and soul, it is so humanly painful. But, oh my, the lessons it holds for us... 

The movie is aptly entitled, "Incendiaries," but as hard as it was to watch, I can honestly say, for me it was life-changing, reminding me to ever bear in mind every human walking the face of this earth has his/her battles, most of which we would never know just from superficial contact. God really used it in my heart and soul as I was moved to compassion in deeper ways.... I can honestly say, a movie that I watched in fear and trepidation was one of the best Mother's Day presents I ever could have received.

Our LORD sends a similar message as Maclaren's through His apostle Paul in Ephesians, when He reminds us, "our struggle is not against flesh and blood…" and calls us to pray for all of His people as we all all struggle in this world…

"10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.  

"14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. 

"18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people. 19 Pray also for me, that whenever I speak, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, 20 for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should."

~Ephesians 6:10-20 NIV (highlights and some capitalization, mine)

We are reminded in the Scripture we likely all memorized as a little child:

"Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you."

~Ephesians 4:32 NASB

And this,

Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.

~Ephesians 4:29 NIV

May our LORD continue to help us as we struggle daily with our deep grief-and-trauma along with all the other difficulties we and many others face as we walk through this fallen world!

~Blessings to each of you~


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