Do we think of God as kind? can you remind yourself of some of his kindnesses to you?
Kindness (Greek: chrestotes, Latin: benignitas)
The word kindness comes from the Greek word chrestotes (khray-stot-ace), which meant to show kindness or to be friendly to others and often depicted rulers, governors, or people who were kind, mild, and benevolent to their subjects. (wikipaedia)
So what is it like to be kind?
After the church service a little boy told the pastor, "When I grow up, I'm going to give you some money."
"Well, thank you," the pastor replied, "but why?"
"Because my daddy says you're one of the poorest preachers we've ever had."
Parable of the good Samaritan (LK10:25) is our classic example, it comes in answer to the man who was a religious expert, knew all the right answers, but it had not moved his heart. Warning: we can be correct but not transformed.
we know we are not saved by works but by faith but as we know true faith will transform how we live and relate to others. His kindness lies in stark contrast to the priest and the levite, they had religious credentials and were even involved in God's service, yet their hearts were hard to the needs of another in desperate straights.
British statesman and financier Cecil Rhodes, whose fortune was used to endow the world-famous Rhodes Scholarships, was a stickler for correct dress--but apparently not at the expense of someone else's feelings. A young man invited to dine with Rhodes arrived by train and had to go directly to Rhodes's home in his travel-stained clothes. Once there he was appalled to find the other guests already assembled, wearing full evening dress. After what seemed a long time Rhodes appeared, in a shabby old blue suit. Later the young man learned that his host had been dressed in evening clothes, but put on the old suit when he heard of his young guest's dilemma
The Samaritan was under no cultural obligation but operated on the basis of the value of the other person. He gives time, risks personal danger, pays out of his own pocket with
no thought of recompense or reward. It was a generous, kind act born out of compassion.
Are we living in the freedom of kindness or do we get held by the fear of being taken advantage of ? give for the sake of others not for our own reward.
the wonderful thing is that sometimes kindness does bring its own reward
Rahab's kindness to the spies led to her and her family salvation
Ruth's kindness to Naomi led to a whole new life for her
Jonathan's kindness to David was repayed when David took Mephibosheth, his disabled son into his court
'it is more blessed to give than to receive', the joy is in the giving of one self and seeing another blessed.
Very easy to be unkind, especially at home, great challenge to be as real at home as we are in our presentation to the world. All the frustration and disappointments of life often bubble away and we can live in silent resentment which issues in cold duty and sometimes unkindness. The reality of the Spirit's work is to give us a foundation in the love and acceptance of God so that we look for our fulfilment in our relationship to God rather than having unreal expectations of our partners, family or friends.
Love your neighbour as yourself may need to start this side of the front door, it may even need to begin when we look in the mirror and begin to accept and appreciate the person we see there, in God's eyes they are not as awful as we think.
As a challenge: be kind to those far off, be kind to those who are near, even be kind to yourself, in so doing you will glorify the God who made and values each and every one. You will also begin to reflect his nature onto the world.