When we get to this particular chapter each month, a little phrase inevitably pricks me:
"What is desirable in a man is his kindness"
(Proverbs 19:22 NASB)
Here's what author John Kitchen has to say in his outstanding commentary Proverbs:
"That which people long to find true in those they associate with is 'kindness.' This translates the rich Hebrew word hesed. The term is descriptive of covenant love and faithfulness. It is a mercy, kindness, love and compassion that flows from an unalterable commitment made to another. It is not hard to see why this is a quality desirable in those with whom one builds relationships. Ultimately, this is God's kind of love for those who trust in Him." (pg. 428)The reason the words, "What is desirable in a man is his kindness," act as a thorn each month is that I find it all too easy to expect "mercy, love and compassion" from others while being slow to dole out those same expressions of graciousness myself. The worst part is that my own home is where I'm least likely to demonstrate the wonder of the "hesed", dying-to-self love that this proverb promotes. Instead, I'm much more likely to bark out commands to my children as though I am a captain desperately trying to keep my ship afloat.
So as we quickly approach Christmas, I want to remember the babe in the manger. I want to remember the baby who grew into the man who lived love. I want to remember His mercy in my life. His love for this wretched sinner. His compassion when my heart aches or I stumble and hurt. I want to remember that the baby whose birth we celebrate this season is the long-awaited Messiah whose rich "hesed" love resulted in Him hanging from the cross, uttering the words, "Forgive them, Lord" about the very ones who were crucifying Him. I want to remember...
When I keep my Savior's sacrificial love in front of me it is much easier to move through my days seeing my children as treasures to be cherished. I'm much more likely to be a gentle, tender mom who showers kindness on those closest to her. I want to live like Jesus. I want to love like Christ. I want to be kind to all with whom I come in contact, starting with my own children. After all, what is desirable in me is kindness.