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Kindness Changes Things

January 13, 2012 Leave a comment

 

  • A mistake made by many people with great convictions is that they will let nothing stand in the way of their views, not even kindness. ~ Bryant H. McGill
  • A part of kindness consists in loving people more than they deserve. ~ Joseph Joubert
  • No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted. ~ AESOP
  • The words you say mean nothing, the way you say them means everything. ~ Eileen Parra
  • Great persons are able to do great kindnesses. ~ Miguel de Cervantes
  • Wherever there is a human being, there is an opportunity for kindness.  ~ Seneca
  • The worldly man treats certain people kindly because he ‘likes’ them: the Christian, trying to treat everyone kindly, finds himself liking more and more people as he goes on – including people he could not even have imagined himself liking at the beginning. ~ C.S. Lewis

Do you remember the Liberty Mutual commercial from a couple years ago?  It was titled, “Do the right thing.”  I know I’m getting old, but the first time I watched that my eyes became just a little weepy.  If you don’t remember, one person was walking down the street and helped a mom and little baby…the baby had just dropped something from a stroller.  Someone noticed the action of this man and then later saw where they could be kind as well to someone who crossed their path. Each person who saw kindness done by someone else had new eyes for where they could be kind in their day as well.  It was a great commercial because I think that it created the sense in many of us that says, “I can do that.”

So let’s review where we’ve been the last week or so.  We’ve jumped into the ‘love chapter’ of the Bible…1 Corinthians 13…and we’re specifically focusing on verses 4-8 and 13.  But let’s go back just a bit more.  Jesus used the word love in His great commandment response in Matthew 22.  Jesus says that the two greatest commandments are to love God with everything and to love our neighbor as we love ourselves (Matthew 22:37-39).  So here we are now looking at Paul’s definition of love.  Last week we looked at patience. This week kindness.  So what Paul is saying is that being kind is part of loving our neighbor.  But what does kindness look like? Again, Paul does not say that this is an option of being loving…he writes that it simply is part of love.  If we are to be successful in loving our neighbors, family and even enemies with God’s love, we need to find out how we can become more kind to others.

Some people think kindness is like humility or that it even shows weakness. Illustration:  When someone is up in your face and on your case a lot, kindness might be seen as a “backing down from a worthwhile fight.”  Ironically, being kind in that situation takes a lot more will power and control and strategy than simply responding with what you think is right.  Have you ever noticed that opportunities for kindness come when we’re busy, run down, defensive, broke, basically not ready?  Many times, when I have the chance to be kind, I find myself in a struggle.  Don’t get me wrong, I know that it’s the right thing to do, but I just don’t want to right then.  LOL  A bit selfish wouldn’t you say?

There’s a phrase that we’ve all heard.  Random Act of Kindness.  I’m all for random acts of kindness…it’s just that I’m learning, I think, that in order to be kind as God is kind, we need to not be random in how we choose to have an attitude of kindness.  If we get out of bed and choose to be kind throughout the day, then those random acts will become less random and more usual.  Do you know people who live out kindness?  I’m sure we all do.  They always have a good word…even when they’re down.  They always have something to give…even if they’re at odds with the person receiving.  They always have time to share…even though they may be very busy.  They give kindness even to people who we might think don’t deserve it.  Kindness seems to always be the opposite of selfishness to that person.  They’re not random about their kindness.  It’s almost like they look for ways to be kind.

Let’s look at what kindness can do?  It makes one feel noticed.  It helps one feel like their personal need wasn’t hidden in the dark.  It can help a person feel cared for.  Many people feel like they might not deserve kindness when they receive it.  Have you ever noticed that consistent kindness can soften a heart even to the point of repentance and sorrowfulness?  Remember, Paul is giving us the definition of love. Kindness is a part of love.  Perfect love comes from God.  If all of that is true, then God gives the perfect kindness…and many of us probably know that because God doesn’t have to be kind to us.  None of us deserve it.

So the question is, how do we become more kind?  My thought is this.  We first look to see how Jesus was kind and imitate Him.  We choose, each morning to wake up with kindness on our heart so that when those opportunities come, they’re not interruptions, but places where our kindness…God’s kindness through us, can be plugged in.  And we have to always remember that it’s not about us.  It’s always about the other person.  When we can act out kindness in this way, God is the one who is glorified.

Love, Serve, Spread the Word,

Ed

Questions for Growth:

  • Are you usually a kind person to those around you?  Are you naturally kind?
  • Is there someone in your life or regularly in the path of your life that could use kindness?
  • How will you ‘do kindness’ to them this week?…even if they don’t seem to notice or care?
  • What will help you wake up each morning choosing kindness as the attitude of the day?

My Life Can Change

March 19, 2010 Leave a comment

Matt 26:36-27:10, John 21:15-19


This week, we,re focusing on the two circumstances of Peter and Judas. First, both denied Christ. Judas denied Him by turning him into the authorities…obviously stating that this Jesus was not the Christ, but a bother to society…or Judas was just money hungry. Either way, Judas turned his back on Christ. Peter, 3 times, told people that he didn’t know Jesus. After the third time, Jesus turned from where he was standing and caught Peter’s stare. Peter’s guilt overcame him.

Now, we have to outcomes to these two decisions. Judas felt so guilty that he threw the money back to the priests saying that he should not have done this thing. He then, overcome with grief, committed suicide. Peter, well he stuck around. He was probably near when the crucifixion took place, but then quickly, along with the other disciples, locked himself in a house. At the word that Jesus tomb was empty, He and John ran to the place of burial to find it was empty. Some time later, Jesus was eating with his disciples and asked Peter if he loved Him….3 times. Significant? Yes.

Two men. Two different circumstances. Two different outcomes. Judas could not hang on to what he had done. Peter thought there might be hope for forgiveness.

Where are you? When you make bad choices, and you know it, do you ask for forgiveness and repent? Change is possible and a clean conscience is possible as well. Both come through Jesus. As we lead the people of this church family, will others see how we deal with bad judgment and choices? Will they see us holding on to Jesus and asking for forgiveness? Will they see us in true repentance…meaning that we do a U-Turn with our behavior? We can learn all about forgiveness and repentance, but until we experience it or see it in someone else’s life, we’ll never see it for what it truly is in Jesus.

Jesus’ road to the cross

March 19, 2010 Leave a comment

John 13:1-17, Luke 22:1-34

The question again: What if what happened then changes everything now?

Some following questions for us as leaders: If what happened then is Truth, has it changed us? Are we willing to change? Do we have a problem with risk? Do we need to change? Have we changed? What if?

So here we go. Many times we don’t combine both of these stories, Washing of the Disciple’s Feet and The Last Supper, but they are part of the same story. John writes that Jesus opens up the evening of the “last supper” by washing the disciple’s feet. It’s not just possibly the last of many illustrations Jesus made during his life on this planet, its directly setting up what is going to happen within the next 72+ hours. Jesus is about to be nailed to the cross, and He, the King of the Universe, bows down and washes the dirty feet of the disciples.

Why? Why did he do that? Was it just an action oriented parable about seeing everyone was important over yourself? I don’t think so. These notes are going to be short today because I’m not sure there’s much to say beyond my next thought. Do you think that the disciples thought about the fact that Jesus washed their feet even while struggling over his quickly approaching torture and death? Did it mean more than serving others…even when it seems demeaning? I think it’s these things and more.

These disciples had previously asked about who was the greatest…and next…and next… They had, as many humans might, wondered about who was important, who had status, and who had purpose. Jesus is about to leave these men, and soon many more than just the 12, His Holy Spirit. The Spirit of God and all its power would reside in these men and in the lives of the soon to be church for the purpose of selflessly building the Kingdom. Jesus had to show them quickly that this is not about status or about power or about importance. Serve one another…and serve others…it’s not about you. It is about the Glory of God and His grace.

Do we live boldly and in truth along with this kind of humbleness? Do people see us as feet washers or as something else? If others don’t see it, these events in the books of John and Luke might not have changed us. I believe it is that simple.

Categories: Jesus Tags: , , ,

A Church Moving Forward

March 19, 2010 Leave a comment

I recently went to the doctor for my annual physical.

The nurse asked me how much I weighed. I told her 135 pounds. Then she weighed me and the scale said 160.

She asked me how tall I was. I said, “5 feet, 5 inches.” She measured me and I was only 5 feet, 3 inches.

So she took my blood pressure and told me it was high.

“Of course it’s high,” I said. “When I came in here I was tall and slender. Now I’m short and fat!”

***********

Growing up or growing older can be tough sometimes.It seems that with each new opportunity or time of growth, there is a period of stress that comes with the change.Pulling through that is essential if we are to continue to grow to be the people God wants us to be. Graduation is a time that is celebratory, but is often also filled with uncertainty and the feeling of being lost. Some grab the opportunity for change with gusto. Others shy back from it and are afraid of future commitment.

Exercise is tough. I’m going through a fairly tough time with my back right now, and “exercise” happens three times a week in my life. The physical therapist tells me that I need to use the right amount of weight on the machines so that my muscles feel a burn near the end of each set movements. The burn tells me that I’m actually strengthening the muscle.The word ‘burn’ just doesn’t sound pleasant to me though. I’ve been burned before, and I don’t like the muscles in my back burning. I’d rather just sit and look at the machine and imagine myself doing great feats of strength…then go home.

The burn is necessary for me to reach the next level. The burn means that the muscle is actually breaking down… even tearing a little. When I rest over the next day, the muscle actually mends itself in a way that makes it stronger. The burn and the tearing down is necessary .The stress is necessary.

The church in Colossi seems to be doing great according to Paul’s words in the first chapter of Colossians. Paul says he and his buddies are praying all the time for this specific church family because of their moves forward, their continual growth and commitment to getting better in passing on the love of Jesus. He uses a few words in the specific passage which are telling of what true growth entails. He mentions the words ‘strengthen,’ ‘endurance,’ and ‘patience.’ Those three words tell me that these people are committed to change for the better. They’re committed to working through tough times because they know tough times are just the precursor of better times…if the right choices are made. Strengthening oneself means becoming aware of weaknesses and either getting rid of those things or working on them. Endurance reminds me of the times when I was tired and ready to quit on the 5th mile of a 6 mile race. Patience reminds me of the times when I’m helping my youngest child learn the consequences of talking back to her parents. Haha. But Paul, in this section of scripture, sees these things as awesome signs of growth as this church family in this town expands, spreads love, and helps many see the salvation of God.


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