Our theme for this month: “Changing the tone of the conversation”
Our Bible verse for today: “The tongue that brings healing is a tree of life, but a deceitful tongue crushes the spirit.” Proverbs 15:4 (NIV)
Our thought for today: “Be kind”
I love the concept described by the Hebrew word “chesed”. “Chesed” essentially means “loving kindness” and it is used throughout the Old Testament in a variety of ways (248 times in the Hebrew Bible). “Chesed” is often attributed to God in the way in which he deals with us in His loving kindness, but it also pertains to how people deal with one another.
It’s featured prominently in the Old Testament book of Ruth. We find Naomi expressing “chesed”, or loving kindness, towards her daughters-in-law Ruth and Orphah when, after the deaths of her sons (their husbands), she encourages them to go back to their own people rather than remaining with her and caring for her. She was expressing a sacrificial loving kindness towards them.
We then read of Ruth showing the same loving kindness back towards Naomi. She declined to leave Naomi and instead committed to staying with her mother-in-law to care for her, even though it didn’t appear as if it would be in her (Ruth’s) own best interest to do so. That’s “chesed”. In the same story we read of the family redeemer, Boaz, extending loving kindness towards both Ruth and Naomi as he used his position of affluence and authority to provide for them in their need.
We also find “chesed” on display in the relationship between the young King David and his close friend Jonathan in 1 Samuel chapter twenty. There we read of loving kindness expressed in both directions between close friends.
The spirit of “chesed” can be expressed in both word and deed. You have within you the power to show people loving kindness if you choose to. You can express it both by the words that you say and in the actions that you take.
“Chesed” is an Old Testament Hebrew word, but we see the concept on prominent display in the New Testament as well, especially in the life of Jesus and in the writings of the Apostle John (The Apostle of love). Therefore although it’s an Old Testament word, it applies equally to us New Testament people.
I encourage you to intentionally bless someone today – with your words and with your deeds. Few things can help to change the tone of the conversation more, in a positive way, than genuine expressions of loving kindness.