The Answer to Our Culture: Love Kindness – September 18, 2020

We live in an antagonistic world. According to our culture, truth is not absolute. Rather, truth is defined by whoever can yell the loudest. This results in a perpetual shouting match of ideas. Unfortunately, the further outcome is a culture which is angry, indifferent, and unkind. Even Christians are marked by trying to get the upper hand or being incredibly unkind to their “opponents.”

Over the past few weeks, we have been analyzing our current cultural situation and seeking God’s answer for how Christians ought to respond. As always, the Gospel is the foundational answer to the problems of society. But the Christian response does not stop there. The Christian must also live out the Gospel. To help us understand what this looks like, we turned back to Old Testament Israel. Their society was broken. Through the prophet Micah, God instructed His people how they were to respond. The answer is no different for God’s people today.

He has told you, O man, what is good;
    and what does the Lord require of you
but to do justice, and to love kindness,
    and to walk humbly with your God?

~ Micah 6:8

Last week we examined what it means to do justice. Next, we move to the command to love kindness. Many translate this phrase as loving mercy. This past week, the satire sight, The Onion, posted a story which poked at “Evangelical Christians.” The foundation of satire is an element of truth (or at least perceived truth). This story confronted the perception (and I believe the reality) that American Evangelical Christians are unkind towards those they see as wrong. How do you speak about the homosexual, the welfare recipient, the rioter, the republicans or democrats, or our Governor? Are your statements marked by kindness and mercy or by vitriol and meanness? Are you praying for our Governor or putting a “My Governor is an Idiot!” sign in your yard? Are you listening to the plight of the less fortunate or ethnic minority or are you coldly stating that they need to “get to work and earn it”? Are you marked by mercy and kindness? One man states it this way, “to love mercy adds the thought that anyone who is in a weaker position due to some misfortune or other should be delivered, not reluctantly, but out of a spirit of generosity, grace, and loyalty.”[i]  

One reason that the gospel seems ineffective today is that the Christian church is marked by unkindness. Our social media is filled with vitriol and foolishness. Our conversations with our neighbors and coworkers are riddled with distain towards our “opponents” and the less fortunate. In our county we see the drug addict, the homeless, children who are acting out, and the poorer elements and respond with distain. We shake our heads and bemoan the fact that they can’t get their act together. Even in the house of God, the church is quick to fight and be angry when our rights are violated, or the church is not serving us.

Brethren, this is not how you learned Christ! That is the way of Fox News, CNN, Facebook, and Twitter. That is not the way of Christ! Every individual is a soul made in the image of God. Christ’s response towards those who crucified him (mocking and humiliating him as he hung bleeding and dying on the cross) was not anger, vitriol, or retribution. Christ’s response was forgiveness and love. So, don’t hate the sinner. Love the sinner and seek to share Gospel with them. We ought to be a people marked by supernatural kindness and mercy. I am thankful for the many in our congregation who have a heart for the unfortunate in our county. I am thankful for those of you who are sacrificially investing in these people. Let us all be like these fellow members. Let us be marked by kindness and mercy.

[i] Bruce Waltke, Micah. Tyndale Old Testament Commentary. p. 213