Over in the Mummy Meditations community, we have really been enjoying this month’s focus on Kindness. Rachel did a brilliant write up of Week 1’s verse in her post: Mummy Meditations Week 1 Kindness, and she’s working through 40 Acts of Kindness on her Facebook page, so do head over there and take a look.
This week, we’ve been focusing on this verse from Luke 6:35: “But love your enemies, do good to them and lend to them without expecting anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and the wicked.”
We especially loved The Message version: “I tell you, love your enemies. Help and give without expecting a return. You’ll never—I promise—regret it. Live out this God-created identity the way our Father lives toward us, generously and graciously, even when we’re at our worst. Our Father is kind; you be kind.”
That is the root of it: God is kind, so we should be kind.
And you know what? That’s true of all of these Fruits of the Spirit that we’ve been working through. We should love, because God first love us. We should be patient, because God is patient with us. We should have joy and peace in our lives because God is the source of joy and peace.
God is the source.
I was going to waffle around and question the principles covered in this verse and things, but actually, I don’t think I need to. We need to be kind because God has been kind to us.
Kindness. It’s one of the very best things about humanity that there is. It’s not a particularly Christian value – not in the way, say, forgiveness is. It’s valued and prized in our culture.
But this verse asks us to be kind to our enemies. Not just our friends and those we love. Not just random people that we don’t know (although a few random acts of kindness can only be good). But to our enemies. Those people who we find very difficult. The ones who we always seem to be at odds with.
Be kind to your enemies.
That’s tough, yes, and can take a huge force of will. It can be hard work. Sometimes it’s about making your head do something when your heart isn’t really in it. It’s about being generous, with our finances, with our time and with our energy. It’s about really being counter-cultural.
Without expecting anything back.
You know, even when I’m writing this, having thought about this verse all week, I find myself thinking, but what will that achieve? If I’m kind to my grumpy neighbour, will he take advantage of that and make my life more difficult? Or will he suddenly be transformed into a valuable member of our local community?
Well, the truth is, either is possible. Or neither. But here’s the thing: it doesn’t matter. The ‘result’ shouldn’t be the motivation behind the kindness. We should be kind because God is kind to us.
This is grace. It’s forgiveness. It’s generosity. This is love. Ultimately, kindness is the expression of God’s love for us. By being kind to our enemies, we are modelling God’s love for us: that he died for us while we were still sinners. That is, while we were still his enemies.
So that’s our challenge. It’s a hard one, but we are promised, we won’t regret it.
Next week, we’ll continue looking at this theme in Ephesians 4:32: Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.