Saturday, February 13, 2010

Kindness

Recently I've been thinking about kindness.  There's a girl in our church body who's known for her absolute kindness and charity in all situations.  No matter what, she verbalizes kindness about people.

People try to be like her; in fact, someone told me just the other day that she needed to be like Miss Kindness.  I need to be like her, too.  Yesterday someone said something questionable to me about someone else, and I was proud of myself because my response was charitable, probably for the first time in my life!

Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God in Christ has forgiven you.  Eph. 4:32

We are to be non-judgmental about other people's attributes and choices.  (This does not mean that we shouldn't call sin 'sin', but we shouldn't be quick to talk negatively about others.)

Consider 1 Peter 2:1-12.

"Therefore, putting aside all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander, like newborn babies, long for the pure milk of the word, so that by it you may grow in respect to salvation, if you have tasted the kindness of the Lord.

And coming to Him as to a living stone which has been rejected by men, but is choice and precious in the sight of God, you also, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house for a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.

For this is contained in Scripture:  "Behold, I law in Zion a choice stone, a precious corner stone, and he who believes in Him will not be disappointed."  This precious value, then, is for you who believe; but for those who disbelieve, "The stone which the builders rejected, this became the very corner stone," and, "a stone of stumbling and a rock of offense"; for they stumble because they are disobedient to the word, and to this doom they were also appointed.

But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God's own possession, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; for you once were not a people, but now you are the people of God; you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.  Beloved, I urge you as aliens and strangers to abstain from fleshly lusts which wage war against the soul. Keep your behavior excellent among the Gentiles, so that in the thing in which they slander you as evildoers, they may because of your good deeds, as they observe them, glorify God in the day of visitation."

These verses really put the cherry on top of the whole idea.  We have tasted the kindness of the Lord, and what does God say this kindness is like?  Everything godly, like no malice, envy, slander, etc..  It is acceptance.  Again, not of sin, but of people.  He took us horrible sinners and made us a "chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God's own possession".  He forgave our sins and changed us so that we can have "good deeds" which, when observed, will cause Gentiles to "glorify God".  In the same way we "received mercy" so we ought to show mercy to others, and in this way we will "proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called [us] out of darkness into His marvelous light.

Charity toward others is difficult.  I'm 28 and it is still a foreign concept to me.  But I hope, that by being slower to respond when people say things about others, I will be able to formulate a response that is merciful.  Because I hope to be shown mercy, too.

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