WHEN we take a step back from matters that irritate or infuriate us kindness as a response seems so far away. But when emotions are checked kindness is not difficult.
Consider carefully the following words by Jesus (in Luke) and Paul (in Romans):
35 “But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.”
— Luke 6:35-36 (NIV, highlighted for emphasis)
“You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge another, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things. Now we know that God’s judgment against those who do such things is based on truth. So when you, a mere human being, pass judgment on them and yet do the same things, do you think you will escape God’s judgment?4 Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, forbearance and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness is intended to lead you to repentance?”
— Romans 2:1-4 (NIV, highlighted for emphasis)
Notice the following as far as kindness is concerned:
ü We expect nothing in return when we’re being kind. It is a loving grace that we do simply because we can. Expect nothing and the paradox occurs; we’re rewarded in the ultimate way.
ü God the Father is the model of kindness. Of the 56 times kindness comes up throughout the Bible, overwhelmingly our Father is referred as the one gifting such kindness.
ü If God can be kind to those who are ‘ungrateful’ (ever been ungrateful?) and ‘wicked’ toward Him, we can too, as we follow Jesus.
ü We have no excuse for the judgments we utter. And any view that is expressed in an unkind way is a judgment. We ought to know that judgments are what gets us into hot water with God.
ü God’s kindness to save us through Christ is intentioned to draw us to Him via repentance, so we can love others as God intended. We cannot be close to God other than via the disposition of repentance, whether that is through sin or simply seeking Him. To repent is to turn back to God. What use is it to ‘love’ people by setting them straight only to miss the mark of kindness? Only as we repent and allow the Holy Spirit to lead us back into communion with God (a daily, moment-by-moment practice of a disciple bearing their cross) are we positioned to love as He would have us love. And that love is kindness.
Tips for making the reality of kindness-is-not-difficult in our lives:
ü Watch what you say/do on social media. The far majority of times it’s best simply to not like, comment or share, especially on divisive issues. A comment or a share is a ‘say’, whereas a like/reaction is a ‘do’. They both communicate much. Do you realise that any little interaction on social media can be reported on your connections’ pages? It’s part of the sacrifice to make sure kindness-is-not-difficult. Advocates of one position or another need to be especially careful. We should always ask ourselves, “Is what I’m about to say/do, kind? — to everyone I can think of and, especially, those I cannot think of?”)
ü Look for opportunities to be kind, and God will quickly busy you with all sorts of prayers, thoughts, feelings and actions if you genuinely seek His will to this end.
ü Watch how your energy of kindness proliferates throughout the orbit of your life. It’s could also be an effective way counteract our mental illness — to throw ourselves into a life of kindness.
Kindness is not difficult. It’s harder to stay angry, cynical, judgmental and indifferent. Kindness is our gift to our world.