There is a wonderful book called The Face of Christ by John MacBeath. In it, the author speaks of the kindness in Jesus’ face. This is something to think about! He had such an amazing countenance that children flocked to Him, women instinctively trusted Him, and men left all to rally behind Him. I have had two children of my own and have also been an elementary school teacher for several years. Little children do not like to be near angry, sullen people. They certainly do not run to sit in the laps of frightening men. Jesus is the King of kings and the Lord of Lords, with more power and authority than we can even imagine, yet His face revealed His great kindness.
His kindness brought Him from glory to a humble manger in Bethlehem. His kindness led Him up Calvary to the cross so that we could be reconciled to God. His kindness is shown in His actions, and Romans 2:4 tells us that it is His very kindness that leads us to repentance. Jesus' kindness is proof of His love for us, and by it we respond.
In the same way, it is the kindness of Christians that could lead many to Christ. The problem is, of course, that most of us find it a struggle to be nice with much consistency. A poor night's sleep, a check-engine light, an unexpected bill, a frustrating situation at work - so many things can derail even the best intentions to be kind to others. And what about the way we act when no one else is looking? We have the strangest tendency to be the rudest to the people we love the most - the people right inside our own homes. We just don’t want to have to exert much effort at home. But we must. Nations are made up of families, and our nations suffer when our families suffer.
Kindness is simply love put into action. In an earlier blog post, l mentioned the idea that love will always find a need and meet it. A parent can show love by giving his undivided attention to sons and daughters. Spouses can show kindness with little gifts or notes, or with attention to details. If I am out in the car and know my husband has a business trip early the next morning, I could fill up the tank – even if it’s cold and rainy and I’d rather just go home. When I’m busy helping the children with homework, my husband could put up the dishes and tidy the kitchen even though he has other things to do.
Kindness often involves sacrifice on our own part. But that is the point. If love is unselfishly choosing for the highest good of someone else, the kindness is proving that I choose for that person’s highest good.
Our neighbors would be shocked if we did things like mow their yard, too, when we mow our own. Or wash their dirty car. Or offer to baby sit their kids, or even bring their kids to church. People need help, and we could offer to help them. Our churches are filled with widows, single mothers, and children without one or both parents. Are we doing our part to show kindness to them, or do we just look the other way and hope someone else will do the job? How many people, out of desperation, do things that can never be undone – like walk out on a spouse or strike their children? When someone around us is overwhelmed by life, we ought to strive to notice and offer them some help.
Kindness needs to extend beyond our own homes and churches, as well. The volunteer effort of Christians could meet many needs and alleviate much suffering. It was tremendous to see the outpouring of manpower and material aide from churches and individuals to the victims of Hurricane Harvey just over a year ago. We ought to prove our love with our kindness and resources when people have lost everything they have. It will open many doors to sharing the gospel with people.
I am reminded, too, of the option of adoption and fostering children that Christians have. Our heavenly Father has adopted us into His family, and what better way can we show kindness to the orphans of this world than by taking them into our homes? We have been so blessed; we must in turn bless others. Just as God lifted us out of the slimy pit of life without Him, so we can literally save a child from a horrible life and bring them into our godly homes.
We have some wonderful friends who have a ministry called Family First. This ministry equips and empowers entire churches to engage with the foster system in their town. Everyone can participate, whether it be through actually taking in children, or donating materials, or learning to give foster families regular breaks. Through these efforts, two entire counties in Texas now have more good families on the waiting list than kids in the system! (https://northtexas.ag/family-first/)
There are many avenues and outlets available for Christians to prove their love and the love of God for others. It is time for us as Christians to make good on our responsibility to swell the ranks of volunteers in this nation. We read far too many disturbing stories of awful predators who fill volunteer positions - could this happen so often because the rest of us won't do these jobs?
The opportunities are endless. Following is by no means an exhaustive list of volunteer opportunities in groups and organizations which would love your help:
-Crisis Pregnancy Center
-International Student Office at Universities (need adoptive families)
-Domestic Violence Shelters
-after school programs
-foster care programs
-kids’ athletic programs
-church youth groups
The list could go on and on. Who better to do these jobs than a follower of Jesus? The world is suffering, and people need desperately to see the love of God in action – through the kindness of Christians. The only thing that is holding us back is our own reluctance to give of our time and money. But when we came to the cross, we gave up our “right” to these things – all of it belongs to our master, Jesus.
As with all of the other fruit of the Holy Spirit, we will find that when we show kindness, we will find ourselves filled with yet more kindness to give. There is no limit to the kindness the Lord lavishes on us, and He will give us as much kindness as we are willing to give away to others.
Something Special -
My good friends Andrew Youngblood and Krystopher Scroggins have a wonderful production called the Campus Ministry Leadership Podcast. This past week, I was privileged to be the featured guest, in an episode called "Developing a Culture of Reading." I invite you to take a listen here...
Hi! I'm Mary - mother to two wonderful grown daughters, wife to an incredible husband, and loving our life in the piney woods of Texas... (read more!)