Yesterday morning, I woke up with one song lyric stuck in my head:
Then through the darknessfrom Living Hope by Bethel Music
Tore through the shadows of my soul
Bleary-eyed, I wandered into the kitchen and got myself some water. As I sat down to look at YouVersion, I saw the verse of the day was this:
Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.Ephesians 4:32, NIV
Later in the day, my daughter’s voice teacher posted this on Facebook:
I don’t know about you, but I’m kind of bracing myself for the drama of this election week…and this is my resolution: Whatever happens, be kind.Amy Hooper
In general, I’ve found that when three voices lay the same message before me, God is trying to tell me something. Jesus is kind, be kind, be kind.
Sunday-before-last, Jurie shared with us what Luke meant when he called Jesus the “Son of Man.” In so doing, Luke elevates the family of believers, showing that we are “of the God kind.” He set Jesus up as the example of perfect humanity – living the way we were created to live. This past Sunday, we learned about the practicality of the Gospel of Mark, which gives us Peter’s account of his time with Jesus. Mark’s Gospel gives us the most rapid-fire account of what Jesus did, rather than just what He said.
As they say, actions speak louder than words. If you have a New International Version of the Bible, just flip (or scroll) through the first several chapters of the book of Mark. While the headings for each section aren’t technically part of the inspired text, they paint a pretty clear picture: Jesus announces the good news, Jesus calls His first disciples, Jesus drives out an impure spirit, Jesus heals many, Jesus prays… Jesus heals… Jesus forgives and heals… Jesus appoints the twelve.
Jesus was and is driven to take care of people. Mark 10:45 (NIV) says, “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many.” God’s lovingkindness can be found throughout the Old Testament as well, especially in the Psalms. Consider Psalm 63:3 (NIV): “Because Your lovingkindness is better than life, my lips will praise You.”
Whatever else God is… whatever else Jesus is… He is kind. When Karin and I were discussing this idea yesterday, she pointed out that Jesus even extended His kindness to the Pharisees. After all, He merely responded to their questions with more questions. He could have turned them to dust with a single word, for their pride and persecution and attempts to entrap Him. But He had compassion on them, providing instruction so that some might be saved.
Here is the logical argument: You are of the God kind; God is kind; therefore, you are to be kind. I know, it’s almost too easy, and you might think, “Well, duh. It’s not like many people set out to be unkind on purpose.” But if you take a moment to really think about how we behave, you may see that we’re often unkind without even realizing it. On the flip side, you may also notice that while we’re not deliberately unkind, we’re often indifferent, failing to actively be kind the way Jesus did.
Jesus didn’t sit around and wait for people to come to Him. He walked all over the region where He lived, proclaiming the good news and performing miracles of kindness. He healed the sick, forgave people their sins, and prayed for the world. His kindness was often a point of contention with the Pharisees; He didn’t wait for the Sabbath to end before He healed people, He ate with tax collectors, and He forgave prostitutes and thieves.
We tend to hoard our kindness. Kindness takes effort. We extend mercy to people only when they’ve sort-of inconvenienced us; we offer help when we have “nothing better to do;” we shy away from people who smell funny or look different or are uneducated or don’t agree with our beliefs. But Jesus was kind to everyone, always.
Take some time today to meditate on Jesus’ kindness. How was Jesus kind to those around Him? How can you be “of the kind kind?” Can you extend compassion to someone whose beliefs or party or color or socioeconomic status are different from yours? Can you make time for a friend, rather than just waiting for some time to open up? Can you be Jesus to those you encounter?
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