Start a Revolution

Think of the kindest person you know. I wish you could tell me the story. Maybe it was a grandparent who took time to listen to you. Perhaps it was a teacher who saw you as more than a student, who took a real interest in you. We would agree that KINDNESS is in short supply right now. Our ability to gently love, to be kind to those who have failed or fallen has been replaced with a harsh, brutal culture that judges and dismisses. Another prominent figure in conservative Christianity was exposed in hypocrisy this week. While I make no excuse for his sins, I was equally saddened by the outpouring of scorn, from many pastors and Christians! Have we forgotten that the fruit of the Spirit is “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness…?”

Kind –  we read the word and sometimes we unconsciously substitute “weak” or “boring,” don’t we? We may admire kindness but few of us consciously aspire to being ‘kind.’  A kind person is of a gentle nature, helpful, and readily showing concern for others.  Kindness is a not a suggestion that God makes for those who love Him, He requires it of us. In a word particularly needed right now, we are instructed to “Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” (Ephesians 4:31-32, NIV)   Please re-read that passage!

Lest some who know me accuse me of preaching a better message than I practice, I confess with sorrow those moments in my life when kindness failed –  when I was willingly critical, harsh, demanding or mean-spirited. Mistakenly thinking that I was defending the faith or some ideal, I was willing to break hearts. Oh, how thankful I am that God has worked to make me a much kinder man than I once was.  I have learned to listen, to extend grace, to be willing to wait out processes for healing and restoration. One of the kindest gifts I have experienced is that person willing to hear my story.  It’s a gift we can offer to others. Will we?

The world we live in desperately needs Christians who are filled with kindness.  As our raging culture wars fill Twitter, Facebook, sermons, and TV commentary with verbal grenades,  when Christians viciously attack those with whom they differ within the Body of Christ, I pray that God will bring about a revolution of KINDNESS. 

“Lord, start a revolution of kindness in me and through me today,” I prayed as I awakened this morning.  My desire is that He would make me gentle. Kindness need not rob us of courage to live with convictions. Kindness, while softening our hearts with tenderness, is no enemy of discernment and/or insight. But, it will cause us to see people first, to be like Jesus who desired holiness, but who was invariably redemptive except with those who thought themselves ‘too good’ to need God’s grace.

We are like our Father when we are kind, for He is kind to us. He does not treat us contemptuously, does not refuse to hear us because we are ‘less’ to Him. He gives us good gifts, loving us even when we are apathetic towards Him. This weekend, I want to invite you to join me in a simple daily prayer:  “Father, fill my thoughts, words, and actions with kindness.” Thank Him for His compassion. Repent for specific places where you have been mean, judgmental, cruel, or careless. Take time to love, listen, and encourage. Need a model? Look to Jesus.

Here is a word from the Word – “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.” (1 Corinthians 13:4-5, NIV)

Try a Little Kindness

(The song sung by the man who made it #1 in 1970 -Glen Campbell)

If you see your brother standing by the road
With a heavy load from the seeds he’s sowed
And if you see your sister falling by the way
Just stop and say, you’re going the wrong way

You got to try a little kindness
Yes show a little kindness
Just shine your light for everyone to see
And if you try a little kindness
Then you’ll overlook the blindness
Of narrow-minded people on the narrow-minded streets

Don’t walk around the down and out
Lend a helping hand instead of doubt
And the kindness that you show every day
Will help someone along their way

You got to try a little kindness
Yes show a little kindness
Just shine your light for everyone to see
And if you try a little kindness
Then you’ll overlook the blindness
Of narrow-minded people on the narrow-minded streets

Glen Campbell, Flo Price © Bud John Songs, Inc. (Admin. by Capitol CMG Publishing)

CCLI License # 810055

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