Most of us at some stage in our lives have been recipients of kindness. We know how it changed our day and outlook on life. When we have received kindness we feel different, our hearts are warmed and we experience new hope because someone took the time to reach out to us. Most of us also know what it’s like to be left out, forgotten in the crowd or across the table, or recipients of unkind words or action. Self-sufficiency is one of the ways we protect ourselves from having to be dependent on others. You can literally live “off the grid” if you want to and make minimum contact with people only when necessary. But is that the way God has called us to live? We know from some of the writings of the early church fathers that Christians were sometimes, mistakenly but appropriately, called “the kind ones”, simply because the Greek words for Christ (Christos) and kindness (Chrestos) are so similar.
When asked by some so called experts, who were caught up in religion, about the necessity of kindness, Jesus told the familiar story of the Good Samaritan,“ But a Samaritan, as he travelled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, brought him to an inn and took care of him. The next day he took out two denarii (two days salary) and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’ What faith lessons do we learn from the parable …?
- Christianity without kindness is not Christianity it’s just religion.
- Christian kindness is motivated and inspired by God’s kindness.
- We are to respond to the pain of others, even those we don’t like.
- We are to go the extra mile even when it is costly.
- We should express kindness in practical, tangible ways.
Lent is a great time to go the extra mile in expressing kindness to others as we reflect deeply on how extremely kind Jesus has been to us. We would cease to exist without His kindness. Why not start today by taking notice of someone you normally don’t even say hi to. Or listen attentively to someone you don’t usually communicate with.
Prayer: Father we are reminded today that without your kindness we would be lost, alone and without hope. May we be the first today to share kind words and actions.