by Dorette Saunders
Do you ever feel nostalgic over the loss of some of the staples we once enjoyed? Ah, not the mouth-watering, homemade foods, but rather the intangibles like civility and kindness?
Lately it seems as if so many people are on edge. And so, a statement issued with no malicious intent, or a disagreement with someone else’s point of view can easily become a springboard for the next vicious social media attack, or worst still, the next mass shooting.
The Bible clearly tells us we need to “Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other” (Romans 12:10, NLT). This is not an easy task, especially with people we don’t particularly like. But, if we would follow Jesus’ example, we can start off by being kind.
Our Lord Jesus was loving and kind. Quite often Jesus’ “genuine affection” for others made him the target of the Pharisees’ hatred. Can you see them pondering Jesus’ motives? Why would a rabbi align himself with sinners and tax collectors? Why engage with them?
For one thing, it is the nature of Jesus’ character. He is love. And he’s a God who loves lavishly and is kind and faithful to those he created. It is also a model for who God expects us to be. If we intentionally sow seeds of kindness, they will blossom into beautiful flowers.
Kindness can be the small seed of a smile. I once had a button which read: “Smile! It makes people wonder what you’ve been up to.” Invariably one of my fellow commuters would read it, I would smile, and they’d return the smile. Sometimes the smile would erupt into laughter, or we’d strike up a conversation. It made for a pleasant start to the work day.
Creating a culture of kindness is biblical. We are reminded to “always be eager to practice hospitality” (v. 13) and we are told not to “… be too proud to enjoy the company of ordinary people. And don’t think you know it all!” (v. 16). How our world would change if we would “take delight in honoring each other,” and if we would genuinely seek out the company of ‘ordinary people.’
How can each of us reflect an attitude of kindness? First, our motives must be pure. Therefore, when our act of kindness is met with hostility, as it sometimes may be, we should be willing to bless those who persecute us, “Don’t curse them; pray that God will bless them” (v.14). This is a difficult, but necessary task. But surely God will help us to accomplish it.
As we reflect on ways in which we can be kind, pray and ask God to bless us as we seek to imitate Jesus in this world. Despite what goes on around us, we look most like Jesus when we walk in his footsteps—when we are kind.
PRAYER: Lord, help us to be kind, not just to those whom we love and respect, but to those who get on our last nerves, push our buttons, challenge our beliefs or whose mission it is to derail our walk with you. Help us to truly be kind. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.