Let’s turn the diamond of this virtue of love to see one more facet of what love looks like. 1 Corinthians 13:4 says that love is kind. The idea of “kindness” has taken a beating in so many areas of life. It’s not a quality you look for in sports. How many hockey players do you know of that exude “kindness”? If you want a good lawyer, I doubt that “kindness” ranks at the top of the list of qualities you want. And, if you are driving on Hall Road with the gazillions of other drivers who think they own the road, really, how much kindness are you going to encounter? Yet, when you do encounter kindness, it brings something fresh and delightful to your life. Kindness can shift a bad mood or flavor your day with delight. Kindness can redirect your thoughts from your own needs to the needs of others. Kindness can lead you to repentance. Now, how about that concept?
The Bible says that “God’s kindness is intended to lead you to repentance.” (Romans 2:4) This seems strange if your understanding of repentance is merely that of sorrow over sin. Repentance does involve such sorrow, but there is more to repentance. “Repentance” comes from two Greek words that literally mean “to change your mind”. So, repentance involves changing how you think or view your life, this world and God. And, God’s kindness is identified as the catalytic power of love to bring about a fundamental shift in the focus and understanding you have on life. Truth is, none of us deserves kindness from God. We deserve His discipline for how we forget Him, abuse His blessings and focus on what we want rather than on His will. If anything, God should raise His hand to punish us. He has the power and would be in the right to do so. But instead He reaches out His hand to bless us. I can say that in my life, it is the Father’s loving-kindness that cuts through my straying and selfish ways. How about you? Have you ever had to face your sinful failure only to meet with unexpected, totally disarming and piercing kindness?
Fifty-six times the word “kindness” is found in the NIV Bible. This is no small or unimportant character quality. The word is used in reference to God’s kindness most of the time. But you and I, who have been loved by God and filled with His kindness, are to bring this quality to others. Do that and watch how it brings something fresh and delightful to others. See how the gyroscope of people’s psyche will be shifted in ways that they did not anticipate.
Kindness is what happened on Sunday, August 28 as hundreds of people from Shepherd’s Gate and five other churches went to sites across metro-Detroit to serve others with loving-kindness. Lives were touched with a fresh touch from God. Bad moods were shifted. And prayerfully, people’s view of life, the world and God were re-directed to know that God Himself is a God of love and kindness. Way to go, followers of Jesus! Spread more kindness wherever you go. Our world needs it.