April 3, 2019
Put on then, as God's chosen ones,
holy and beloved…kindness…
During my Chinese childhood, “kindness” was a text book virtue, but within a family, the parents were supposed to discipline their children. “Kind” parents would raise spoilt children. In addition, I was taught to be vigilant when people were particularly kind to me; they might have hidden motives, or were using kindness as a tool to take advantage of me. At the same time, to be a kind person meant one could fall prey to all sorts of deception.
When I became a Christian, I read the Gospels, which overflow with Jesus’ kindness. He did not judge who was worthy of his kindness. For instance, he touched the untouchable (a leprous man −Matthew 8:1-4); he spent time with the rejected (the tax collector −Luke 19:5); he showed compassion to the suffering (the woman who suffered from bleeding for 12 years −Luke 8:48). His kindness had a transformative effect on everyone he met, but Jesus’ greatest kindness was his death for our salvation.
Jesus demonstrated the power of kindness and its impact on people’s lives. If we follow Jesus, step outside of our lives and do acts of kindness for the unsuspecting, the undeserving or the hurting, we will make a difference in our community. This, however, is not merely an external change of behavior. Without an internal change of heart, we cannot put on the kindness Jesus Christ showed us. In Galatians 5, we learn kindness is a fruit of the Holy Spirit. We must let the Spirit of God conquer the unkind, sinful nature in our hearts, so that we can be an instrument of the kindness that overflows from our God.
Despite my eagerness to show Christ’s kindness to everyone, I still face my struggles for those times I have failed to do so. Thankfully, Jesus has never given up on shaping me into his likeness. During the process of sanctification, Jesus tenderly guides me when I have doubted myself.
In Matthew 11:28-30, Jesus tells us: “When you are tired or even burned out, come to me, I will give you a real rest, so that you could walk further. Watch how I do it and I will not lay anything heavier than you can bear. Work with me and you will learn how to live freely and lightly.”
Prayer: Dear God, thank you for Jesus’ examples of real kindness. Please use me to show your kindness to people around me. May your kindness touch every heart and soul so that our lives can be changed to be like that of our Lord Jesus. Amen.