** Charity suffereth long, and is kind….** 1 Corinthians 13:4
Love should be kind.
Kindness means we are happy to do good to others. We want to give others what they want. We want to help, to ease their burden. We want to be tender like a nurse or a mother would be. It means that we have a tender heart. We are not cold, calculating or cruel when someone is suffering.
Kindness can be directed out towards others, but we can also be a receiver of the kindness of others.
Kindness also partners with grace. Because sometimes our kindness is shown toward someone that doesn’t deserve it.
** But love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest: for he is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil. ** Luke 6:35 (italics mine)
It is so much easier to be kind to the kind. It is easier to love those who love us. But the Lord calls out to those who truly want to know Him and learn how to be like Him when He challenges us to love ( which includes being kind) our enemies.
He tells us to be kind to those who have hurt us. To be kind to those who take advantage of us. To be kind to those who are not thankful. We should even be kind to those who are outright evil.
We all find it hard to be like Jesus, don’t we? Which one of us wants to be face to face with an evil person and treat them with kindness? Who wants to be kind and helpful to those who hurt us? Don’t we naturally wish that the Lord would deal harshly with those who make our lives harder?
Today, my husband and I were waiting in line at a sportswear store to pay for our purchase. The line was long and the store was crowded with after-Christmas-sale shoppers. The aisle where we were all waiting in line to pay was just a little wider than we needed to be able to stand next to each other. The line was moving quickly. But not quick enough for one particular lady. She came from behind, moving rapidly, wanting to catch up with her family, I guess. She walked past me on my left. And shoved me to the side a little bit so she could get by the tight space. My very ‘loving’ response to her was ” excuse you!!”. I said it in English. So, chances are she didn’t even understand me. She just kept on moving her way up the line until she found her family, not caring how many people she bumped. It happens all the time here. It irks me.
Clearly, kindness was not my first response. Plenty of attitude is my go-to style lately. It’s a problem for me. I am really struggling with kindness. I am struggling to be kind, forgiving, and loving in a world that isn’t any of that.
But, I imagine, that Jesus lived in an even tougher culture. Manners were probably not common niceties for everyone in His world. Everything was dirty. One had to literally wash their feet when they came home after walking through the dust or mud in sandals all day. Who wants to be nice when they feel filthy and tired?
So, I am being childish and a bad example when I reprimand someone I don’t even know nor do I know why they do what they do. Maybe the lady was in a hurry because someone in her family is sick. Maybe her vacation was cancelled a dozen times because of the pandemic. Maybe she needs to get out of the city to save her sanity.
Who am I to snap at her?
Kindness. A place to grow.