Continuing with bearing fruit, next up is kindness. It's sad that society has made a guy like me feel less of a man because he is considerate, puts others first, or is kind. Many consider a guy like this weak, a pushover, or a doormat because he may not use coarse or profane language, brute force, or have a tough demeanor. This was the biggest struggle of my life growing up as a teen. I knew I wasn't the typical guy. I was sensitive, considerate, empathized with others, and I was completely shredded and torn apart as a result. I was called gay, faggot, punk, sissy, weak, and other unimaginable things I wouldn't dare repeat. Many of those scarring words still rock me to my core today. The bad news is that I allowed some of those words to take root in my heart and I questioned myself a lot as a result. The good news is that almost a decade after going through those tough times, I attended a program through my church that helped me understand what it truly means to be a man in the eyes of God (and all those who recognize Him). It helped me understand that being kind isn't a bad thing for a guy. In fact, I learned that kindness is a major pillar of manhood!
Moving on, let's discuss some practical ways you can show kindness. Here are a few:
Put yourself in someone else's shoes. When you consider what someone else is going through, it will probably help you understand how to respond to their needs which then makes you better equipped to help them.
Use your manners. It's okay to still use your manners. If someone makes you feel less of a man for being polite and having manners, obviously they have a problem and not you.
Think outside yourself. When was the last time you did something that put others first? If it has been a while, I challenge you to think of something you can do for others in the upcoming days, weeks, or months that doesn't give you any direct benefit. Then do it!
Tell the truth! Being nice tells people what they want to hear but being kind tells people what they need to hear (in a way that is not harsh, rude, or inconsiderate). Don't confuse kindness with being nice. In my opinion, nice means being agreeable and likeable but being kind doesn't always mean you will agree with everything someone says or does.
You have to dispel the myth that says you're weak if you show kindness as a guy. You're not weak if you're kind. In fact, you show more strength when you display kindness because it takes more effort and thought. Also, don't let people take your kindness for weakness. Jesus Christ displayed kindness like no other. He was pretty cool, calm, and collected (a saying from back in the day) and His life was ultimate service. At the same time, He was very straightforward when it came down to handling business and making sure people didn't think he was just another "nice guy" (see Matthew 21:12-13). Sometimes you have to remind people not to get it twisted and that kindness does not equal weakness. Stay strong!
Written 4/6/2014 by John Weaver