The Therapy of Kindness
“Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you” (Eph. 4:32).
Whether or not you keep up with what is going on in our nation, or the world for that matter, kindness in both word and deed has certainly been abandoned by many. My experience has been there are still kindhearted people in the world, who express feelings of concern and respect in many ways. Of course, it is obvious there are others who are so motivated by selfish desires, almost any expression of kindness is lacking, whether in one’s actions, or speech, or anything anymore.
In Christ, we are to be different than the world, and have a different attitude than that motivated from sinful purposes. Instead of being cruel, we should be kind to each other and tenderhearted, as the above passage emphasizes. John reminds us, “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love” (1 John 4:7-8). We should remember that Jesus taught us, “For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. The good person out of his good treasure brings forth good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure brings forth evil. I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak, for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned” (Matt. 12:34-37). Whether in word or deed, we all want to be justified in Christ, rather than stand condemned by reflecting the sinful world in which we live.
It is tragic, however, when Christians in the body of Christ, say or do those things calculated to hurt and offend. Cutting remarks and harsh actions can be unleashed in a moment, but their effect can last a lifetime. We would do well to visualize such before we engage in them. Would it be okay to see some of what we say or do revealed in a public forum for all to see? If the same words were spoken to us, with the same inflections and volume, would we be offended? Perhaps a daily reminder of the Golden Rule (Matt. 7:12) should be dispensed to ourselves, before we let loose our words and actions, as these reflect what is in our hearts.
It’s too easy to just pass it off, saying, “Well, I’ve always been like that…that’s how I am!” It’s not how we’ve always been that matters, but how we grow in the image of Christ. “When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly” (1 Pet. 2:23). If we want others to be kind, the best place to start is by being kind ourselves, to everyone. It is the way of Christ, who asked the Father to forgive those who vilified Him, and had Him crucified (Luke 23:34). May it be our testimony to a world who needs Christ as well.
μαράνα θᾶ (1 Cor. 16:22)