It’s pretty easy for us to point out the bad, the evil, the sin that seems rampant in the world today. Yet when we do so we need to be careful of the manner in which we do it. Make no mistake; these things need to be addressed. Yet to do so in a way that suggests that we are somehow above such things puts in danger of actually condemning ourselves.
Paul explains in his letter to the Romans, “You have no excuse, everyone of you who passes judgment, for in that which you judge another, you condemn yourself; for you who judge practice the same things.”
Wait a minute, you may be thinking, I don’t do those things. I don’t murder, cheat, steal, riot. I’m not like that. Yet, James writes that “whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles in one point, he has become guilty of all.”
There was a group from a local church that used to gather at a busy intersection armed with a bullhorn, a big Bible and placards with what I’m sure they thought were especially clever sayings like “God created Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve” and “God hates sinners.” I’m not sure what they thought they were going to accomplish with that approach. Did they really believe they were going to change anyone’s heart, let alone their mind with that kind of action?
That, I believe, is the type of behavior Paul was talking about. Thankfully, we are not without hope. Paul goes on to write that the kindness of God leads to repentance. To Titus Paul wrote, “For we also once were foolish ourselves, disobedient, deceived, enslaved to various lusts and pleasures, spending our life in malice and envy, hateful, hating one another. But when the kindness of God our Savior and His love for mankind appeared, He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit.”
God’s kindness, often referred to in the Bible as lovingkindness, is attractive in part because it’s so rare. But it doesn’t have to be. Once we have experienced it we can share it. In fact, we’re instructed to do just that in several places in the Bible.
Paul writes in Ephesians that we are “to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing tolerance for one another in love.” And a little later in that chapter he expounds on that instruction when he writes, “Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.”
The Old Testament prophet Micah puts it this way, “He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?”
God’s kindness is not only available for us but for us to share that others may be attracted to the eternal love God has for each one of us.
I’ll be sharing some passages of scripture dealing with the topic of kindness during this week’s Middays Prayer Time, around 10:30 AM and 2:30 PM.
Mon 10/12 Romans 2:1 – 4
Tue 10/13 Titus 3:1 – 5
Wed 10/14 Psalm 63:3 – 4
Thu 10/15 Ephesians 4:1 – 3 & 30 – 32
Fri 10/16 Micah 6:7 – 8
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