Thursday, August 16, 2012
How About a Heaping Dose of Kindness?
This week we are exploring the fruit of the Spirit called kindness.
At times, I have used a method to help me understand something. I look at the opposite meaning of what I am trying to understand.
For instance, I see that the antonyms of kindness are cruelty, harshness and meanness.
I imagine that the Lord’s heart breaks, when the good news, of the Gospel of Love, is presented in a negative and skewed way. Scripture says that it is the kindness of God that brings a person to repentance. If the Lord’s heart is not breaking, He must be shaking His head, trying to figure out how people have misconstrued the truth of His message.
Perhaps, the following are some of the ways that you were presented as ways to understand God. Even if that wasn’t the case for you, I am sure you can recognize ways in which Christianity is misrepresented.
1) Presenting God the Father as a vindictive and angry person
2) Saying that God’s main role is to catch you doing something wrong
3) Telling people that they have to reach unbelievable heights of perfection to deserve the Lord’s acceptance and love
4) Shaming people as a means for them to turn away from their sinful lifestyle
5) Publicly exposing sins, so that a person will feel naked and wrong in the sight of others
6) Expecting people to follow a long list of manmade rules and regulations
7) Telling people how to dress and wear their hair
8) Wrongly declaring that men are superior to women and are subject to men’s “made up” authority
I am sure that you could add your own to this list.
I don’t know about you, but scaring the bejeebes out of me would never be a method I would respond to.
Recently, I read about Josh Steven’s Foundation. It was started in memory of a young boy who died in a tragic accident. It seems that the quality that most people remembered about him was his kindness. So, as part of his legacy, his parents began this foundation/ministry. Through it, they offer a little card that reads “You’ve Been Caught Being Kind,” which includes a silicon bracelet wrapped around it that say’s “Be Kind…It’s the New Cool.” The giver can present the card and bracelet to someone, especially a child, saying that they “caught” the child in the act of doing a kind thing”
His family thought up the idea, but doesn’t it sound so much like a “God idea”?
What if this was the way God worked? For every time we did a kind thing, He noticed and gave us a prize. I know it sounds simplistic and maybe even goofy, but I think the noticing and the award would go a long way. Try comparing that to what a shaming or an “I got ya’” attitude does.
Rather than make us feel…what the use is or believing that we will never measure up, we would feel good about taking the high road, when we showed kindness. Further, what if we showed kindness, to the people who deserve it the least? Perhaps we could get a double prize.
Is this an elementary way to think? Perhaps it is, but God’s ways are sometimes so simple, yet very effective.
As a matter of fact, wasn’t it that realization of kindness that caused us to open the door of possibility to His invitation. Why? Because, it dawned on us, this Love was not anything like we expected.
I thank God, I had a group of ordinary women, who week after week, welcomed me into their midst with no “agenda” in mind, other than to show me love. Believe me; I was very aware that there were not the usual strings of expectations attached.
They provided the platform for the Holy Spirit to woo me into the Truth and subsequently into the Family of God.
Until that point, I avoided the God that I was scared of, by any means that I could. Sadly, He was presented to me as very angry and vindictive. And not only did I believe that He was that way, but other Christians seemed pretty judgmental too.
Why would anyone want a part of that?
But step by step…day by day…His kindness, through these women, broke through the dark clouds in my heart.
As Kindness sang a song of deliverance, I was able to fly out of the cage that held me prisoner for way too many years. Now, I too can sing a song declaring that the Lord is kind. It is a very sweet sounding tune indeed.