Matthew 7:12 ESV
I Corinthians 13:4a ESV
Romans 8:28 NKJV
Luke 19:5 NKJV
Ephesians 4:32 ESV
I have a “thing” about kindness and I think that’s because my dad had the gift of kindness. So do I…sometimes.
One of the problems with having the gift of kindness as a main gift is that when I spend time with people who do not practice kindness I have to remind myself to NOT take it ‘PERSONAL’. That’s because even though they may not have a natural inclination toward kindness, we are all told in Matthew 7:12, “So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.”
I have to ask myself, ‘are there people who do not want to be treated with kindness?’
There are times when I struggle with unkind people because I believe that Jesus was kind. I have to remind myself that Jesus was also always truthful. Jesus always told the truth because Jesus is TRUTH (John 14:6). Jesus knew being truthful was kind.
The Apostle Paul wrote about kindness in 1 Corinthians 13:4a. He said, “Love is patient and kind.”
In my opinion, that’s one more reason to be kind.
Even so, kindness is sometimes difficult in the face of unkindness.
So, while we ‘get’ the idea and we know God wants us to be kind, why do we fail to be kind?
Even though I have a deep desire and hope to be kind in every situation, why am INOT always kind? Why do I find myself doing UNKIND things?
I try really hard to be kind.
I want to be kind.
I remind myself that when I am UNKind I feel terrible about it after the fact. Still, there are simply times when I am still not kind.
For example, when someone cuts in front of me in line (especially a tall person), I take offense at it. I feel like they seem to think they are more important and have the right to step in front of me. I wonder if they think an older short person will not make a scene if they cut in.
My struggle is that from the moment they cut in front of me in line, I have to decide if God would want me to speak up and let them know they need to go to the back of the line or decide to not make a scene. If I tell them I may end up getting angry. That’s when I have a tendency to be UN kind.
In my younger years I would probably have tried to convince myself it didn’t matter.
I can tell you, that is not the best course of action. It only makes my anger fester and grow.
One day, not too many years ago, I witnessed someone cut in line in front of a man and I noticed the man was mildly annoyed. Their next step though was wonderful.
As I watched the gentleman, I saw his face soften and change. Within about 30 seconds he gently touched the man on the arm and he introduced himself. He did not tell the man he was wrong. He did not try to correct the man. Over the next five minutes he spoke softly and tenderly. Within a very short amount of time he had the man laughing.
The man who had been annoyed, decided to make a new friend.
I think that’s exactly what Jesus would do. (While I know that’s the best course of action, I’m not always able to succeed.)
Jesus would take a bad situation and bring good to it.
I know I quote Romans 8:28 a lot but it’s because it’s true, “for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.”
The man who decided to make the most of a difficult situation gave God the opportunity to bring good to him in the middle of a difficult situation. He turned a very UN kind act into an act of kindness.
I think when Jesus was passing through Jericho and a man small in stature climbed up in a tree to get a look at him, Jesus gave us an extraordinary example of kindness.
There were people everywhere and Zacchaeus was so short he could see (I get that), so he climbed a tree. When Jesus saw him, he knew everything about him. He knew the man was hated by all because he was a tax collector. He knew how the man treated and cheated people. The way I see it, Jesus knew the man had been UN kind.
What’s remarkable is that Jesus didn’t try to evangelize Zacchaeus. Jesus didn’t tell him he needed to give his life to God. Jesus didn’t tell him IF he changed, then He would go to his house.
Jesus simply said, in Luke 19:5, “come down, for today I must stay at your house.”
Jesus loved Zacchaeus and was kind to him.
Jesus didn’t wait to love Zacchaeus because he deserved to be loved. He just loved him.
We read in Ephesians 4:32, “Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.”
Here’s the kicker…we are not called to love and be kind to those who deserve it.
We are called to love.
We are called to be kind.
Even to the UN kind. And if you’re like me and you want to be kind but you don’t always succeed, cut yourself some slack. God’s not finished with me (or you) yet.
Today’s Spiritual Practice is: Be Kind
Think about winning someone over by loving them and being kind. You may not have the opportunity today, or tomorrow, but if you pray and ask God to give you the opportunity to be kind, God will send you an opportunity. By doing so, you could be changing their life just like Jesus changed Zacchaeus’ life the day he climbed a tree.
In God, Deborah