The Beauty of Kindness – February 5, 2021

This last week as I prepared for yet another funeral, I began to think back on those who have gone ahead of us to Heaven the last couple years. As I thought back through each individual, I was struck by a common character trait prominent in them. Each of those wonderful people was marked by incredible kindness. They loved to serve others. They were not combative. They were not selfish. They loved others. As I look at the world around me, and specifically in my generation, I wonder where this kindness has gone. To be sure, many today are incredibly kind. I am continually amazed and blessed by the kindness of many in our church body. But if we are honest, our world today is not marked by kindness.

Perhaps the pinnacle text instructing us towards kindness is Ephesians 4:32 – Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you. So many of us are marked by a critical spirit, selfishness, anger, frustration, bitterness, and arrogance. We mimic the cultural responses around us to things we don’t like and things we expect. But as I considered these dear senior saints who have recently graduated to heaven I am struck by their kindness.

Kindness only comes out when we have tender hearts. This means that we are compassionate and merciful. We have a heart towards the feelings and situations of others. We don’t immediately assign bad motives to others. We extend mercy to others. We are marked by empathy. We don’t see everyone who disagrees with us as our enemy.

This can only happen when we learn to forgive. While forgiveness does not mean forgetting, it does mean that we choose not to remember and hold it against someone. While it does not free the individual from real world consequences, it means that we seek a repaired relationship. This means we don’t seek vengeance but leave it to God. We don’t mull over the wrong against us but seek to serve others.

Forgiveness requires humility. We hold our own rights loosely. This happens when we remember our own depravity. We stand guilty before the Holy God. We deserve nothing but wrath. Yet, God because of the sacrifice of Christ has forgiven us. He grants us total and complete forgiveness. Not because we deserve it. Only because of His glorious grace.

Are you a kind person? Are you easily angered by those who disagree with you? As I have considered our members who have died and looked in the mirror, I have been convicted that I need to be marked by kindness. May God grant each of us the humility to see others as God sees them and extend kindness to all.