If I had to sum up the life of Christ in one word, and not use the word “love”, it would be kindness. Of all the things Jesus did and said, His kindness stands out to me most, even above His miracles, which are awesome and at times fearful. Even above His death and resurrection, stands His kindness.
That’s saying quite a bit, isn’t it?
Even above His resurrection?
Yes. But not only above His death and resurrection, also IN it.
Jesus said somewhere that we should follow Him. I’ve never really thought about what He meant, but I wonder lately….was kindness on His mind when He said it?
I have seen some incredible acts of kindness in my life, from all sorts of wonderful people. I have seen the arms of Christ envelop me, and people around me, through the bodies of people He inhabits. I have seen even people who don’t believe give incredibly of themselves without being asked. In every instance, the reaction to these kindnesses has been surprise, wonder, tears of joy, smiles, laughter, and hugs. I have never, not even once, witnessed an argument, fight, or war start over a kindness done. I wonder…is that a lesson we can learn from?
If it seems as though kindness can wipe out envy, hate, and strife, does it also seem like we would be better served by being kind always?
If we are going to follow Christ, I am of the opinion that the best way we can do so is to be kind, to everyone. Be kind to them in person, and in thought. And there, in thought, is where it gets difficult.
Being kind, at first, will be a discipline. Don’t let the times deceive you. There are still some things you have to work at in order to be successful. In our day, we are rapidly moving toward an almost effortless society. We want what we want, and we want it now. Furthermore, it should be GIVEN to us, not earned. This is the creed of many in our day in history. Don’t let it be yours. If it is, you’ll never be kind to your neighbor.
How do I know this? Because you can’t be kind just knowing you are forgiven. You can’t be kind just knowing you are loved. Something inside of us prevents us from being naturally kind to everyone, regardless of circumstance or past. You can’t be kind by merely wanting to be kind. YOU HAVE TO PRACTICE IT, internally first, and then externally as the result of what is going on inside.
You see, what pours out from us MUST match what lives inside of us, otherwise, our kind deeds are nothing more than hypocrisy lived out. Naturally, if we feed evil within us, kindness will rarely flow from us. Do you see why the two MUST match? Many in this world would tell you that this simply isn’t true, that kindness flows even from people who feed the evil within. I would answer, “Kindness for kindness’ sake never flows from a heart which feeds itself evil. Evil has a personal agenda, kindness does not. The two are at opposite poles of one another, and NEVER meet in the middle.” You can bet on it, if evil is fed, the “kindness” you see flowing from it is nothing more than a ruse to gain its desires and lusts.
Kindness will change your family. Kindness will change your children, your spouse, your friends and your job. Kindness will change the world, and it can be changed. But best of all, kindness will change us. There is only one way to be kind; you can only be kind by putting someone else above you. There is no other way to do it. The monstrous Me, me, me must die inside before kindness will live within. It isn’t easy, don’t be fooled. At first, it will be difficult, but the more you begin to see the love of Christ within you, and the more you seek His love within you, the more you will begin to be predisposed towards kindness. Killing the me, me, me is difficult, but because of Christ, you can see a resurrection of the new you just beyond the blackness inside.
Now think about the words “Follow me” that Jesus once said. Do they mean something different today?