Be Kind

Be Kind

“Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.”  I memorized this verse from Ephesians when I was a young child.  It rolls off my tongue with great ease.  I think I quote the King James Version because I say, “Be ye kind…”.  The extra “ye” seems to make it more personal to me.  It is like a more pointed exhortation because of the ye.  We are not to just be kind but ye have to be kind.  Not great exegesis but somehow it seems to drive it home more.
I sometimes am not a big fan of the verse.  Being kind is kind of easy if you don’t think about it.  Most of us are probably pretty courteous.  We hold doors open, we nod hello, we let other drivers in etc.  The majority of us are also probably pretty tolerant.  We are not antagonistic towards many people.  We are pretty patient when others are less courteous than us or do less intelligent things than us.  The most we do is an inward roll of the eyes but we allow our faces to stay pretty neutral.  The problem is that the verse exhorts us to be kind.  I once read that the word kind means “useful”. We act in such a way that we make others lives better.  Certainly, holding a door for someone is useful.  So there is that.  But how often do we refuse to really look at someone at work because we know that if we truly see them that it will mean us getting involved in their lives?  How often do we ignore verbal clues because we do not want to be “useful”.  Common courtesy is a must but anything more than that can be time consuming and exhausting.  That is why Paul exhorts us to be kind.  It takes work, effort, and desire.
Paul doesn’t stop just there.  He does not simply address our actions but he addresses our hearts.  He exhorts us to be tenderhearted.  Be empathetic.  Think tenderly towards others.  Be understanding towards their circumstances and the stresses that they may be under.  Feel for others.  Be careful not to assume that you understand what someone is going through, but care enough to ask and to truly listen to their response.  
Then Paul takes away our biggest excuse.  Forgive those who are not kind back.  Forgive those that treat us or others unkindly.  Forgive those who allow the stresses of life to make them angry and caustic. Forgive them just like God, in Christ, forgave you.  Not because they deserve it.  Not because it will change their behavior, although it might.  But forgive them because you have been forgiven your unkindness.
It is easier to be grumpy, isolated, and judgmental.  But it brings no joy.  It creates a hard heart that is self absorbed.  Be kind.  Be tenderhearted.  Remember the forgiveness you have been shown.  It will brighten your day.
Remember all of these truths as we head into the next political season.  

No Comments




no categories


no tags