Posts Tagged ‘Kindness’

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?

The Year of Kindness Revisited

Tuesday, May 16th, 2006

You ever think about songs you used to sing that are seldom sung anymore? “Make Me a Blessing” used to be really popular in the Sunday School I attended every weekend. I never much cared for it; the music was too bland, the lyric too cliched, the song was just too too uninteresting for my taste. And the whole notion seemed a little like sucking up to people I didn’t necessarily know and probably wouldn’t like. (Even though I usually kept my mouth shut, I’ve always had a bad attitude.)

Fast-forward to 2006 and the previously discussed Year of Kindness. After not thinking about the song in years, I find that “Make Me a Blessing” has insinuated itself into my consciousness as part of this year’s quest for kindness. “Make Me a Blessing” has, in fact, become a constant prayer.

My Father God has worked a miracle in my psyche. Ain’t that a kick in the head?

Make me a blessing.
Out of my life may Jesus shine.
Make me a blessing, Saviour, I pray;
Make me a blessing to someone today.
– Ira B. Wilson

A couple other things:

  • There is no such thing on earth as an uninteresting subject; the only thing that can exist is an uninterested person (G. K. Chesterton)
  • The English verb bless derives from the Germanic noun for blood and literally means “to consecrate with blood.” So as a Christian, I have been blessed (i.e. consecrated with Christ’s blood) so that I can be a blessing to (i.e. contribute to the well-being of) others.

Cliched lyrics? Maybe. But not an uninteresting sentiment. Not a suck-up philosophy. Just “the living expression of God’s kindness.”