When I started writing this lesson, in my head, I’m thinking “be kind!”  I’m a kind person, more people should be kind….I’ll teach them what Christ says about kindness!  But it has gone so much farther than just merely “be kind”.

Yes, God instructs us to be kind:

Ephesians 4:31–5:2 (ESV)
31 Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice.  Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.  Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. …

Luke 6:35 ESV

But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, for he is kind to the ungrateful and the evil.

Colossians 3:12 ESV

Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience,

1 Corinthians 13:4-7 ESV

Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

We are to be kind because Christ commanded us to.  We are to be kind because Christ was kind.  We are to be kind because we are to follow closely behind Him.  The fruit (or evidence) of the Spirit working and moving in our life is love, joy, peace, patience, KINDNESS, gentless, …..So, if we are following Him, and we are obedient to Him (and not only paying Him lip service where we have no real intention of following Him at all) then the evidence of that relationship is love, joy, peace, patience, KINDNESS…..We cannot be merely Country Club Christians and attend church when we want to, but do little to anything else.

So what is kindness?  Let’s see what the Bible has to say:  in Eph 4:32 it says “And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as Christ forgave you.”  Tenderhearted…soft-hearted, compassionate…..soft-hearted:  it touches our insides easily.  Tender-hearted:  easily felt.

My sweet Mom suffers from nerve damage from her diabetes, she knows the definition of TENDER!  It doesn’t take any kind of pressure for her to FEEL pain.  That’s how we are to be towards others:  tender, their pain is easily felt.  Our words and our actions should be sensitive to others.  Doesn’t leave much room for sarcasm does it?  (Hey, I don’t make this stuff up!  I just write what God tells me to!)  So, how in our real world can we actually accomplish this?  In a society where “cut-throat” and “down and dirty” and “me first” is the only way to be important or famous, or accomplished or {GULP} POPULAR?  How can we actually learn to be kind?  I believe it is a character that we can accomplish through the Holy Spirit.
I believe it is only with the power of the Holy Spirit.  I believe that He gives us the strength and power and ability to do this, if we let Him.  It is a life change, it is a heart change, it is a mind change, and it is do-able.  And when we give Christ the permission to overhaul our life, and we give up the control of our lives, we see the fruit, or the gifts, and the evidence of the power of the Holy Spirit working in our lives.  We cannot put away the anger and the bitterness and the malice without Him.
Let’s look at the verse a little deeper:  “And be kind to one another (covered that), tenderhearted (covered that), forgiving one another as Christ forgave you.”  Eeek.  OK, here we go.  Ripping off the band aid….quick and easy or slow and painful.  It’s our choice.

Forgiving one another.  “But, God, did you SEE how that person treated me?  Did You HEAR what that person said to me?  Did you notice how they TREATED ME?  I don’t want to FORGIVE them.  I think I’ll hold onto this just a little longer.”  It’s a good thing that Christ’s standard of forgiving US isn’t the same as ours.  We are the keeper of wrongs…our wrongs, other’s wrongs…and God tells us very specifically to let it go.  Forgive others THE SAME as Christ forgave us.  He is not the keeper of our wrongs.  It’s as simple as “I was wrong, I’m so sorry”  “I forgive you.”  Yes, even if and when we do NOT get the “I was wrong, I’m so sorry.”  Many times in our lives we will simply never get that.  Yes, I think it is a character flaw, and it is the evidence of the LACK of the Holy Spirit moving in their lives.  {Ahem}  Sorry, it had to be said.  But, then there are those special times, yes, even YEARS down the line, when you get that email or message from someone that had done you wrong in the past, and they just needed to say they were sorry.  Those are very rare, but they do happen.  In our own heart, we forgive anyway, whether or not you get the apology.  You forgive anyway.  Christ forgave us in the ultimate way:  His death on the cross.  No, you are right, if we forgive others, we do not get to savor the revenge taken on our enemies, we do not get the “joy” of holding onto that grudge and sharing it with everyone around us.  We get none of that.  Instead, we get kindness.  We are blessed with kindness.   Jesus said in Luke 6:35, “Love your enemies, and do good . . . and you will be sons of the Most High; for he is kind to the ungrateful and the selfish.”

Christ’s love for us is self-sacrificing and self-denying, why should our love for others be any less?  A simple gesture of kindness, a word NOT spoken, a wrong forgiven, yes, it is costly, but wasn’t CHrist’s sacrifice just as costly?

And because this has gotten awfully long…I’ll stop for now and save the rest for later.  Think about it:  was Christ always kind?  What about when He drove the people out of the temple….does that strike you as kind?  😉  Oh, you’ll just have to wait!

As always…..BE KIND!