Ravi Zacharias once said that “There is never a good reason to be unkind.” I would agree. I just don’t live that out very well. But I should, shouldn’t I? Or at least as a follower of Jesus Christ, and a man who has the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, my life should be marked by the fruit of the spirit in which kindness is named. Yet I have found in me so often that I do not live a kind life.
I can be quite the jerk to my kids and my wife. I get tired and irritated. I answer questions and requests by my kids as though what they were asking was outrageous. I have been ashamed of this all too often ritual in my life. I started asking myself why I would get so annoyed by people who need. I say I love my family, but so often I have lacked in my showing it. I’m not sure when it was, but two scriptures are radically changing me from the inside out.
One day as I was particularly frustrated by one of my kids for being…a kid, the words of Paul came to mind, “Love is patient, love is KIND,” and then almost immediately after, “It is the kindness of the Lord which leads us to repentance.” Those two scriptures stopped me in my tracks. Yes I have known that I should be kind as a follower of Christ yet for some reason that day, by God’s grace, I began to see them differently. I began to see this word “kindness” as what it is, part of God’s character. I am to be kind because it is part of who HE is. And if it is part of who he is, then I was created to express that kindness. How often I have thought of the fact that God’s grace has said me, that Jesus loves me and demonstrates it by death on a cross, but I rarely think of God’s kindness in leading me to repentance.
I am still thinking about what exactly does it mean to be kind and what it means to express kindness as an image bearer of the everlasting God, but what I am finding very freeing is that often throughout my day, I am presented with a choice to be burdened by people, things or circumstances. In the past I have responded with frustration, but lately I have asking myself “How can I show the kindness of God in this situation?” I am asking God to teach me the joy of his kindness as I meditate daily on what it means to be kind like He is kind. In the process, my cold heart is changing, hopefully becoming more like his.
Often in the church or in evangelical circles, we present a picture of following Christ that requires constantly saying no to things. Sure this is true, we say no to many things. But what I am finding more and more as I journey with Christ in my life is that when I say yes to him, when I seek to be like him, when I seek to express who I am as a reflection of who God has made me as an image bearer of the everlasting God, I find LIFE. Much richer and much deeper than anything I experience outside of who He is. I also find that I begin to give life to others.
I am enjoying meditating on what it means to be kind as He is kind. Join me and ask yourself the question: How can I show the kindness of God in this situation?