‘A nurse led an anxious young man to the bedside of an elderly man.
“Your son is here,” she whispered to the elderly patient. The patient’s eyes opened only after she repeated the words several times. The old man was heavily sedated for his pain and he dimly saw the young man standing beside him.
The old man reached out his hand with all his might and the young man warmly wrapped his fingers around it, squeezing a message of love and encouragement.
The nurse brought a chair for the young man to sit beside the bed. The young man sat holding the old man’s hand offering him words of love and strength, all through the night. The dying old man said nothing as he held tightly to his son. Occasionally, the nurse suggested that the young man could move away and rest awhile but he refused.
As dawn approached, the old man peacefully died with the young man still holding his hand. The young man placed the lifeless hand, he had been holding, on the bed and notified the nurse.
While the nurse did what was necessary, the young man waited. When she was done with her task, the nurse began to say words of sympathy to the young man but he interrupted her.
“Who was that man?” he asked.
The nurse was startled. “I thought he was your father,” she answered.
“No ma’am, he was not my father,” he answered. “I had never seen him before in my life.”
The nurse was stunned by the young man’s answer and asked, “Then why didn’t you say something when I brought you to him?”
He replied, “I knew right away there had been a mistake but I also knew he needed his son, and his son just wasn’t here. When I realised he wasn’t able to tell whether I was his son or not, I understood how much he needed me to be beside him as his son. So, I stayed.”’
- By Roy Popkin
1 Corinthians 13:4 Love is patient and kind…
When we read of the kindness of one human being towards another, our hearts are warmly moved and we feel a satisfied sense of joy. God has put within us a natural longing to want to be loved – a gap that can only be ultimately filled by Him – therefore when we see love shown by an act of kindness, it brings us great pleasure.
However, because we cannot fill that void within us unless we repent and give our lives over to the Lord, we tend to try to fill that hole by using other means; whether it be relationships, outward experiences or other emotionally-charged circumstances.
Now that we are born-again and live under the sovereign lordship of Christ Jesus, that gap has been filled. As God’s chosen ones, we are now called to impart God’s goodness, grace, love and mercy to others by leading holy lives, walking in humility with a heart of compassion and showing kindness to all people.
Put on then, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience…
This life we now live is one that is completely opposite to our carnal hearts, and instead of being divisive, reactive and seeking revenge, the Holy Spirit gives us the ability to love our enemies, do good to all and expect nothing in return for our actions. Sounds easy, right? No, of course it’s not easy, but with God’s help, it is possible.
But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, for he is kind to the ungrateful and the evil.
We no longer hold on to the wrongs that have been done to us in the past, therefore bitterness and anger don’t control us anymore. Slandering, bad-mouthing and all forms of malice are not accepted acquaintances because our new tender hearts now want to be kind and forgiving to one another.
Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.
The refreshing springs of kindness set forth a bold display of God’s righteousness.
As the Christian freely gives, he finds that he flourishes in the Lord all the more and when he blesses others, he himself will be blessed.
One gives freely, yet grows all the richer; another withholds what he should give, and only suffers want. Whoever brings blessing will be enriched, and one who waters will himself be watered.
Yet why is it that even though we all want to be treated kindly, we often don’t show kindness towards others?
Firstly, in order to show kindness, it takes effort. We must choose to put in the effort that is needed to share a kind word, give financial aid or offer a helping hand. One cannot display kindness without putting in the time that is necessary to exhibit this beautiful attribute – because true kindness only comes forth from a heart that cares.
Proverbs 21:21 Whoever pursues righteousness and kindness will find life, righteousness, and honor.
Secondly, we must overcome self in order to achieve kindness. We cannot display an act of kindness unless we are willing to sacrifice our own comfort and convenience in order to share this precious fruit of the Spirit with someone (Galatians 5:22-23). It means not thinking of our own wants and desires, and instead, discerning how we can effectively minister the kindness of God to a fellow human being – at the expense of our own ambitions.
Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.
Let’s always remember that every single thing we know, learn and receive is only because it has been given to us from heaven. This places us in a very humble position – we cannot take credit for anything … all glory belongs to God.
John 3:27 John answered, "A person cannot receive even one thing unless it is given him from heaven."
Proverbs has some wonderful insights on the power of kindness, You see, friend, kindness is a two-fold application: when you are kind to someone, not only do they profit from your self-sacrificing service, but you also are benefiting yourself because your act of loving kindness is well-pleasing to the Lord.
Proverbs 11:17 A man who is kind benefits himself, but a cruel man hurts himself.
On the other hand, when we are cruel and treat others harshly, we are not only hurting them, but we are also hurting ourselves.
On another note, one of the most common conditions society are struggling to cope with today is anxiety. According to statistics, 1 in 7 people will experience anxiety, and that’s in Australia alone. We are living in difficult times, and although we may be known as one of the smartest and most knowledgeable generations due to living in the ‘Information Age/Digital Age’, this by no means eliminates the complexities involved when facing problems, struggles, traumatic experiences or sensitive issues, nor does it undermine the underlying shadow that constantly pulls at us, which we all will continually face and must seek to overcome – sin.
Praise be to God because He is the One who brought light into this world – and Christ promises that those who follow Him will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life (John 8:12)! It is through Him and with His help that we are able to get through these troubling situations. Will it be easy? No. But the Lord is so faithful to His beloved that He promises to never leave us, nor forsake us (Deuteronomy 31:6), and when we cling on to Him with all our might, He will definitely carry us through – not just half way, but all the way!
The next time you feel weighed down with anxiety, I encourage you to meditate on the next verse below and make it your daily mantra, being sure to put into practice its wise instruction by seeking, speaking and thinking good words – and we know that there’s no better words than those the Lord has blessed us with in His inspired Bible.
It is through godly words that our heart is made glad.
Proverbs 12:25 Anxiety in a man's heart weighs him down, but a good word makes him glad.
Almighty God is full of kindness towards us, but we mustn’t forget the severity of God either – for if we do not walk in repentance, the Lord will deal with us accordingly.
Note then the kindness and the severity of God: severity toward those who have fallen, but God's kindness to you, provided you continue in his kindness.
This is why it’s so important that we are living right before our God … obeying His Word and walking in His ways. God has promised to discipline those He loves (Hebrews 12:6) in order to bring them back on the right path … and He has also promised that those who don’t repent and receive the gift of His Son’s saving grace will never enter the Kingdom of God (John 3:3).
When we’re going through a time of testing where we feel someone is pushing us to our absolute limits – it is in this moment that the love of Christ can shine through if we willingly let go of our fleshly reactions, and allow the Lord to give us the self-control necessary to respond in a soft, loving and graceful manner.
A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.
It’s always easier to take the road of anger, hurt and resentment, to pay evil for evil and feel quite justified in the process. However, this is not how God’s people should behave.
Let’s ask the Lord to help each of us, as individual members of the body of Christ, to actively walk in loving kindness towards all who we come in contact with, whether it’s our greatest enemy, or our best friend. Let us ask God to help us be a people who are truly shining the light of Christ – because the way we shine His light is by being people who love, care and show kindness to not just some, but everyone.
1 Thessalonians 5:15 See that no one repays anyone evil for evil, but always seek to do good to one another and to everyone.
-- By Jenny Ayling