Basic Kindness – 101

 

    

          “Plain, old, basic kindness – it’s Christian Kindergarten!”  (In my head, I also added “…for Pete’s sake!”)  I said that in exasperation, just the other day.  Believing it with all my heart.

 

This morning in my devotions, God’s word seemed to prove me wrong.  According to II Peter 1:5-7, kindness does not appear to be a virtue mastered in Christianity 101.  If the qualities there are listed in any semblance of spiritual growth order, it appears that what I thought was “basic,” is really more for those who are working on their Christian PhD.

 

Look how Peter builds it: “…make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love.”  Yikes!  Kindness is next only to “the greatest of these” – love – For Pete’s sake!  Get that?  For Pete’s sake?  II Pete?  Okay…

 

According to this list, it’s only after we reach a state of thinking we know it all, and have all the answers, and have ourselves under control, and we’re tenacious in faith, that we then qualify to apply for the PhD program of Kindness and Love.  (I wouldn’t get into a doctrinal argument about this; these are just my observances.)

 

So, as I was mulling this over today, wondering if I was really on to something…  I remembered Ephesians 4:32.  This verse has been a favorite of mine since I learned it in a song, as a child.  “Be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God, for Christ’s sake, hath forgiven you.”  (We sang in King James in those days.)  There it was again, “be kind, tenderhearted.”  The NIV says to be kind and compassionate.

 

So, I’m pondering all this…Why does “basic” kindness seem to be so difficult, so absent in the lives of many Christians?  What does it take to become tenderhearted?  As I’m asking myself these questions, I see an image in my mind of Round Steak, and what I do to prepare it.  With a special tool, I hammer it.  Over and over. I pulverize it until it becomes tender enough to be used. 

 

Hmmmmm…..  Kind people seem to be those who have been hammered by life.  Pulverized.  Broken.  They’ve reached the stage where whey know they don’t have it all together.  They’ve discovered they don’t have all the answers.  They’re devastated by their own weaknesses.  They have experienced failure.  They realize that any success is only by the grace of God.  They’re past criticizing and judging, because they are so painfully aware of how desperately they, themselves, are in need of God’s mercy and forgiveness.

 

When I think of people who touch my life the deepest, it isn’t those who have it all together, it’s those who are kind.  And I’m changing my mind about thinking it’s basic.

 

 But my gut still says kindness is basically necessary; and God’s word backs this upIn fact, Jesus takes it one step further, He commands us to love.

 

         

Advertisements

11 Responses

  1. Some people are kind to another for a certain interest, while some thinks it is necessary to be kind so that they may go to heaven, some because they want to receive the same kindness back, but not all these kind of “Kindness” is approved to God, for God looks “not” at what kindness one did, but what is the intentions of their hearts when they do such gesture. The kindness that is approved to God, is one that is drawn from Love, and this kind of love refers to such as loving kindness to everything what the Almighty God has created, everything means, even those which do not do us any good.

    Thanks for an amazing post Seriouswhimsey. I just really love people who blogs about God. May the Lord God Bless you at all times.

  2. I think of kindness as “love for others above ourselves”. Sometimes it’s not in our benefit to be kind, it doesn’t help us, gain anything, etc. But God called us to be kind anyway, to place others before ourselves. Maybe through our kindness we’re showing others just a glimpse of the glory of the Lord.

    Ohhhh, but sometimes, it sure feels impossible to be kind to some people. I’m more tempted to smack them over the head. 😛

  3. Our Bible Study is doing 1 Peter, for Pete’s sake! ar ar. In Ch 5, we are to remember we submit to each other in Christ. We do it for Him, not for me, not even for the other person! And in so doing, we are kind – which does not mean vapid, simple, or tolerant of wrong. Well, that all sounds PhD to me!! but not to the Holy Spirit! Thank God! for Pete’s sake!

  4. I just reread that and it doesn’t make any sense, even tho in my head it did!! 😦

  5. What a wonderful post! You have given us alot to ponder on! LOVE the picture too!:)

  6. Hey, Grace (blackbelt), I understood. Our home fellowship group has just ended a study of I Peter, so I’m very tuned to what you’re talking about.
    I think often kindness can be very uncomplicated, even easy. It can be as simple as being civil to others, showing manners, letting someone go through a door before us. Smiling. Saying “Thank you.” Acknowledging a shopper in The Loft! (See her blog). Basic thoughtfulness of others.
    None of these things are complicated or difficult. I guess that’s why I’ve looked at it as Christian Kindergarten. And I’ve wondered (frankly, been aghast at) why it seems so hard for people to simply show gentleness toward their fellowman.

  7. I think sometimes it is easier to be kind to a total stranger than our on family. I know I find myself less patient with my family than I do others. Why is it that the ones we love the most we have the hardest time showing it.

  8. Oooo, Marilyn, I think you are on to something. Hmmm. I think we take our loved ones for granted, often, and we, at least I, have a hard time showing ANY of the fruits of the Spirit. Thankfully, God extends us grace, eh?

  9. Thanks for commenting on my blog the other day! Come back any time. This is a great post–I just love Peter (for Pete’s sake!). Sometimes it’s really hard to be kind but that’s one of the things I try to do a lot, even if it’s difficult. But sometimes being kind to those you’re closest to is harder than being kind to those you don’t know as well. Weird, huh?

  10. Grace…You don’t know what this post means to me. I have had the lows a little today over some “mean girls” that my daughter and I are dealing with at school.
    I have felt so sad at the behavior they have shown towards my girl. Today they pulled a few new punches of humiliation.
    Both of these girls are …..girls with issues. One of them is a total lack of positive guidance. The part that hurts the most is that my daughter really loves both of them.

    Thanks for sharing. I agree with you. BE KIND!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: