The Kind Way

At the beginning of February 2014, I made the commitment to read I Corinthians 13 every day. I wanted to improve my “love walk,” and what better way than to read the Apostle Paul’s definition of love on a daily basis. After a few days on this assignment, I began to focus mostly on reading the actual description of God’s love in verses 4 – 8. With each day, I became more adept at cruising through those verses before moving on to the rest of my daily scripture reading. “Love endures long and is patient and kind” became part of my morning mantra; I hardly realized how little I really concentrated on the powerful words in I Corinthians 13. I was almost through the month of February before something finally caught my attention long enough for me to slow down and digest what I was reading.

“Love is kind” – it hardly seems all that powerful of a statement, but there is a powerhouse of strength and authority folded into such a sweet, cotton candy-esque term. The actual Greek word is chrésteuomai and the only time it is used in the Bible is in I Corinthians 13:4. It literally means “to be kind.” It still did not seem all that impressive until I realized that chrésteuomai was/is a verb – an action word that is always in the process of “acting” when used in a sentence. Kindness is not a wimpy, cherub-loving adjective, but a brawny verb that demands doing. Love is always in the process of showing kindness, always thinking of others, and always looking to serve.

My next stop was to a dictionary (or dictionary web site, rather) to see how the modern lexicons defined “kind.” I found a decidedly wider array of words to describe “kind” than was offered by the Strong’s concordance: “of good or benevolent nature; having, showing, or proceeding from benevolence;   indulgent, considerate, or helpful; mild or gentle.” Kindness proceeds from Love – is actively coming out of Love all the time. We live in a world that is in dire need of kindness every day, people who need to experience a love that flows with helpfulness, consideration, and gentleness. To be kind is to take yourself out of the picture so that the only people you see are those around you who desperately need to be noticed by someone.

The need for kindness was further driven home for me following a discussion with a friend regarding driving etiquette (and the lack of it by other drivers). He initially refused to allow a vehicle to cut in front of him at a stop light. As a result, the vehicle was blocking one of the lanes and preventing any other cars in that particular lane from moving. I suggested that he allow the driver into his lane; when he asked why I felt she deserved the pass, I countered that it was the kind thing to do. He again asked why I thought the driver deserved this act of kindness when she had clearly disregarded other vehicles on the road by attempting to force herself into our lane. Again, I stated that it was an act of kindness. For me, the whole point of kindness is that we are receiving gentle treatment whether we deserve it or not. If goodness was only doled out to those who deserved it, then (a) the list would be remarkably short and (b) it wouldn’t really be kindness. (My friend did allow the driver to move into our traffic lane).

Being kind is not a sign of weakness, but rather an understanding that others need to be loved more than you need to remain the center of your attention. Do not take for granted the power that flows through your acts of kindness. Of all the grand and amazing things that Jesus did, he was also kind.

 

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