Loving Kindness

Loving Kindness: A Cautionary Tale about the Timing of Our Words

I’m a passionate advocate for words of loving kindness.

“Walk the WOLK,” I like to say. Walk the words of loving kindness. When we “walk the WOLK,” we get to share God’s loving kindness that became our saving grace. That’s from the third chapter of Titus, a letter the apostle Paul wrote to Titus, a co-worker in the faith.

But our days are not always filled with words of loving kindness.

Somedays it’s the wrong message at the right time. Somedays it’s the right message at the wrong time.

Last week I was stunned by a social media barrage of defiance, indignation, “us versus them” vitriol. The war of words was not directed at anything I’d posted; it was directed at someone who’d shared a post, explaining why the second COVID vaccine was necessary.

Yes, just explaining why some of us will be getting two shots. Forty-three politically charged comments later, the post was removed.

Why was the hate necessary? Yes, hate.

I was saddened for the person sharing the post. I was saddened for those who were offended. I was saddened for all of us—who are having a harder and harder time having conversations about important topics in our day and doing it respectfully.

Earlier this month I was having a crown replaced.

I have the best dental team who I hate seeing. I have numbing and sensitivity issues that overshadow every appointment, whether I’m in for a cleaning, a cavity, or a replacement crown.

At this point in my dental life, I know what works and what doesn’t. Meeting me the first time, my new dentist looked at my chart and said, “I understand you have difficulties getting numb.”

There was no “Hey, don’t worry! I can do it.” At which point, I do worry, because she won’t be able to do it.

No, she sat down and talked to me, not while watching the clock, not just long enough to quickly decide to do what she was going to do anyway, but long enough to understand, long enough to figure out what would work best for me.

Trust me! It was the right conversation at precisely the right time! Words of loving kindness for a patient!

Too many social media posts are about important topics, but they come at the wrong time.

And sadly, too many social media posts carry too much vitriol; they’re the wrong message at the wrong time.

We all have a right to our opinions, our feelings, our points of view, but in his letter to Titus, Paul encourages us to be compelling examples of God’s saving grace.

Too often that Facebook share, that social media post, that thumbs-up comment only promotes our divisions. We’re replying with exclamation points, and when that happens, we push God’s people apart.

Three things to consider as we navigate life on social media as women of faith:

  • Let’s continue to watch what we share.

It’s not news when I say, we are a deeply divided country. I can’t think of a single issue that won’t find half of us in agreement and the other half diametrically opposed.

What might resonate with you may (will, could) hurt (anger, stun) your friends and followers. Yes, the list of verbs could go on and on.

Not every post on Facebook is as uplifting as some, but together and individually, we can change the discourse, change the dialog by just being nice, by just being civil, by just being compelling examples of God’s saving grace.

Words of loving kindness.

  • Let’s continue to find ways to support and encourage each other on social media.

God put us in relationship with Him and each other. Social isolation makes us who we’re not. Stress makes us who we’re not.

In the last year, I haven’t always been at my finest (I know!), but I am surrounded by friends and family who continue to support and encourage me—when I’m at my finest and when I’m not.

My husband and I share the same Facebook profile. When he “likes” something I’ve posted, it looks like the two of us like the two of us. I love when the two of us like the two of us.

I love your comments too. My spirits soar. Your encouragement builds me up.

In another letter, Paul talks to the Romans in chapter 14, verse 19 about pursuing what makes for peace and for building up of one another.

We all need to be built up. Those around us, too. And we can be a compelling example of God’s transforming grace in our likes, loves, and wows, in our posts and shares, in answer to the Facebook question, “What’s on your mind, Kurt and Deanna?”

Words of loving kindness.

  • Let’s continue to have those smaller moments, so we’ll be ready for the bigger ones.

The bigger issues of our day will not be resolved with a Facebook meme. The bigger issues of our day are going to need us listening to hear and understand, not just respond, and not just in a dental office.

The challenges around us are going to require compromise, smaller steps before bigger steps can be taken.

When we’re compelling examples of God’s saving grace, we build trust and respect, and trust and respect build relationships, and relationships built on trust and respect serve as a foundation for thinking through the bigger challenges, the harder questions.

I know. It can sound a little trite, a little namby, pamby, but remember, we’re sharing God’s loving kindness that became our saving grace. It’s about what God did and continues to do. It’s about what God will do in, through, and around each one of us.

Words of loving kindness.

There is a time for everything.

In the third chapter of Ecclesiastes King Solomon reminds us that there is a time for everything.

To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:

A time to be born, and a time to die;

a time to break down, and a time to build up;

a time to weep, and a time to laugh;

a time to mourn, and a time to dance;

a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;

a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;

a time of war, and a time of peace.

Yes, may that be our prayer as we like, love, and share. Words of loving kindness. Yes, loving kindness!

Deanna Nowadnick author

Hi, I'm Deanna

I am a writer and speaker who loves helping women of faith connect our delightfully ordinary stories to God’s extraordinary love and faithfulness, so we can be encouraged and empowered knowing God’s been in the details–always has been, always will be.

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