Archive for the ‘Kindness’ Category

Back to Kindness: Taking the Heat

Friday, March 16th, 2007

“Being nice” is a good thing; it contributes to a civil society, but kindness is much more than the absence of unpleasant, rude, or hurtful behavior (though eliminating boorishness is a good thing). But kindness sometimes means taking the heat.

Close your eyes. Relax. Picture yourself in the middle of a huge, black asphalt-covered parking lot. It’s mid-August, about four in the afternoon, 97 degrees Fahrenheit. Feel the wicked-hot sun. No breeze. Mostly empty lot, and your car appears to be miles away, at the edge of the asphalt, barely visible through the shimmering waves of heat. Now start walking.

Feel the punishing rays. Wilt in the scorching heat. Almost unbearable, huh?

Now look at the strip of land adjoining the lot–a grassy ribbon untouched by the bulldozers where a large leafy maple tree spreads its branches. Walk over to the welcome shade. Feel relief from the blazing sun. Rest for a moment against the broad trunk. Let the tree take the heat.

Sometimes kindness means that I become a tree, interposing myself between a weak soul and the white heat of oppression. Or a blanket wrapping myself around a neighbor whose heart is chilled by evil. Or a barrier, stepping in to shield another soul from the fury of a tormentor. Kindness is not passive “niceness;” kindness is active Love.

In this ServantBlog post, Andy White describes kindness that can change the world:

Kindness encapsulates every single fruit of the spirit, and when we serve another in Kindness we become a vessel through which the fruits flow. We bring hope to the hopeless, faith to the faithless and love to the unloved. We start to challenge structures, confound stereotypes and become agents of change. We begin to introduce a sense of justice in a life trapped by injustice.

We don’t need to be ˜nice” to serve: we need to be focused on Kindness and bent on Justice. Want to change the world? Let’s go to war for the disenfranchised, the trampled upon, the forgotten; let’s confront the weasels. And let’s allow our weapon to be Kindness, our strategy to be unconditional serving, and our victory to be Justice.

Jesus hasn’t called me to be nice; He calls me to follow Him. His mission (and mine) is  not to commit “random kindness and acts of senseless beauty,” but to ... preach the gospel to the poor … to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised (Luke 4:18).

Active kindness motivated by love is THE rule of engagement for Christian mission. The $64,000 question is this: How does that play out in my life?

It’s All About God

Thursday, February 1st, 2007

If working at it is not the way to become the “living expression of God’s kindness,” then what is? Check out this parable of the Vine (by Bill McCracken and Toni Proudfoot), where we are branches grafted into Christ — the Vine:

Only one thing is necessary,” said the Vine, “abide in Me. Let Me be your peace and joy. What matters most is the time shared between us.”

“You see,” continued the Vine, “it is no longer a question of what you can do, but of whether or not you will let Me to do it through you. My love for you has healed your deepest hurt. I am all you need. You now live so that we might fill the needs of others. Our union will do this. My fruit in you will bring praise to our Keeper, the Father. All you need to do is to be ready and willing to bear the fruit.”

There it is. Grapes grow on grapevines; as long as we abide in the Vine — spending time with Jesus, studying His words, enjoying His presence — fruit of the Vine is the inevitable result.

[tags]kindness,spiritual fruit,the Vine[/tags]