I recently read the passage of scripture about love. It starts with ‘Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up’ (1 Corinthians 13:4). The passage is well known but the word ‘kind’ just made me stop and think. What is kindness, and how is it different from other expressions of love? It’s clear that God is kind, since He’s love, and this includes kindness, and what’s more, the fruit of the Holy Spirit includes kindness. So it must be necessary to understand what kindness is, if we want to grow increasingly Christ-like.
Expressing God’s love seems a huge and demanding thing to do, especially as we know we should love everyone, even our enemies. God loves the ‘unthankful and evil’ according to Luke 6:35, but somehow this seems a rather daunting task for me. How can I possibly do it in my busy every-day life? Or maybe you find it easy to love others, but have a different problem with love. Perhaps you find it hard to receive love, especially when others overwhelm you with their desire to do something big to openly show how much they love you.
This is when kindness comes in handy. It can be a bite-sized expression of love which is more easily ‘tasted’. It’s not too big to receive, so most people will be open to taste it, even if it’s not usually easy for them to receive love. It’s like a ‘taster’, a small sample of a product which is handed out in the supermarket. It’s intended that this small taste will give people an appetite for more.
Kindness brings an aspect of love which enables us to be loving in our everyday life, even to strangers. Anytime, whatever you’re doing in your schedule, there could be an opportunity for you to be kind to someone, but we need to be awake, and watch out for that special moment.
An act of kindness isn’t usually planned. It’s an unexpected deed for that unique situation, where we can make a ‘mini-love’ response, which will be easier for a person to receive. It’s usually something they aren’t expecting, but which is exactly right for what they need that moment. It could be doing something thoughtful for a person in your family, smiling and thanking the girl on the checkout (even if she was a bit slow), opening a door for a bag-laden shopper, or letting someone in a hurry go ahead of you in the queue. The possibilities are endless, but we have to have our eyes wide open to spot them and act on them.
So are we willing to ask God to open our eyes for those moments when His loving-kindness could be passed on through us today? It could be someone’s first taste of truly undeserved love, the love of God. And who knows where it could lead them if they get to like the flavour?
Prayer: Dear Father, open the eyes of my heart today so I don’t miss any moments when I could be `kind’ with Your kindness. I pray that people I meet, known or unknown, will be touched in a unique way with a small and palatable taste of Your unending love. I pray this in Jesus’ mighty name. Amen.
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