Many Christians find themselves living in the gap between standing for truth and demonstrating grace, but the result can often be self-righteousness disguised as truth or indifferent tolerance disguised as grace. So, what is the bridge that enables us to travel from truth to grace? I want to make the suggestion that it is KINDNESS – one of the “fruits of the Spirit” Paul mentions in Galatians 5.
If we could understand kindness and understood more its revolutionary power, the world would see a side of us that would cause many who are sceptical concerning the Christian faith, due largely to the way the church treats each other, to take notice.
By kindness, I’m not talking about when you buy a stranger a coffee or when you bring in your neighbour’s dustbins. These are nice random acts. But kindness is not a random act, it’s a radical life choice. Kindness is fierce, brave and daring, it’s fearless and selfless, never to be mistaken for ‘niceness’. It’s not a duty or an act, it’s an imperative, it’s the natural outcome of the Holy Spirit’s presence in our lives. We exhale kindness after we inhale what’s been breathed into us by the Holy Spirit.
In short, kindness displays the wonder of Christ’s love through us.
- Kindness is relational – It does not allow us to judge another person without walking with them in relationship.
- Kindness is transformational – It will not allow past mistakes to colour the present nor the future.
- Kindness dignifies – When change is needed in a person’s life it does not ignore the need for change, nor does it simply make a judgment call leading to sudden forced change, it calls us to seek together the path for change, through understanding, evaluation, and commitment to the end goal.
- Kindness honours – It never allows us to speak behind peoples backs that their flies are undone but will discreetly let them know so they can do something about it. Noah one day became drunk and laid in his tent naked. Ham, one of his sons, went and told the others exposing his nakedness so Shem and Japheth walked in backwards with a blanket and covered his nakedness. (Genesis 9:21-27) This is kindness.
The God-authored spirit of kindness in us has the power to thwart the enemy’s plan to bring division among His people and at the same time, season the world around us for the good. Kindness as Jesus lived it presents the highest hope for the renewal of true Christian community, a renewal needed now more than ever. Let us learn to be kind to one another.