I was wondering, when was the last time that you were intentional about being kind to others? When was the last time you woke up in the morning and said I’m going to be kind to those that want to cut in line at the store? When was the last time you chose to be kind to those in your life that have been rude to you? Or when did you decide to be kind to the person that, in your opinion, does not deserve it? Jesus reminds his followers, on a number of occasions, of the importance of kindness.
My recent studies from the life of David in in 2 Samuel 9 prompted a study on the importance of kindness. While I will not focus specifically on this passage, it did open up some fresh insights on kindness. We have a tendency to focus on King David’s failures, yet he was a man of God that did much for the glory of God. We can learn much from his life and in 2 Samuel 9 we are reminded about his kindness to others. We should be not be surprised that Jesus calls his followers to intentionally practice kindness.
I grew up in a cultural context that was based upon the Judeo-Christian ethic. Now, as I have come to learn after becoming a follower of Christ, not all of the ethic is Biblical. Yes, there even have been some aspects that have misinterpreted the Bible. I can remember being reminded of the freedom to repay others for how they treated you. This could be both good and bad. The justification for giving it back to someone was often rationalized by the passage found in the Mosaic law. “fracture for fracture, eye for eye, tooth for tooth; whatever injury he has given a person shall be given to him.” (Leviticus 24:20) What is often overlooked is that these verses are the basis for judicial penalty not the justification for retaliation.
Think about Jesus’ summary of the Mosaic Law. He reminds us that the first priority in our lives is to worship God and the second is, “And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” (Matthew 22:39) There are several Christian practices that speak to how we treat others and it would include kindness.
Jesus also addressed this misinterpretation when he said, ““You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I say to you, Do not resist the one who is evil. But if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also.” (Matthew 5:38–39) His admonition is again on the importance of relationships.
There are many others passages that we could look at but let me end with this better known one. “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”” (John 13:34–35) Again we are reminded that an other-centered focus of Jesus’ followers preaches a gospel without words to a culture desperately seeking genuine love.
So will you accept my challenge to begin tomorrow asking Jesus to help you be kind to the people that cross your path? Ask yourself, “What KIND of person will I be today?”
-Pastor Joe Parkinson