to glorify God... one thought at a time

to glorify God... one thought at a time

Friday, September 23, 2011

Kind to the cruel

"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness,faithfulness, and self-control; against such there is no law" Galatians 5:22-23

It's time for kindness. This fruit is fun, but hard to give sometimes. The word kind means; of a sympathetic or helpful nature. This in itself seams easy enough. I know many kind people who will jump at the drop of a hat to help someone else. If you have the gift of hospitality, you are probably one that goes into mother mode in the midst of a rough time for someone else. Before they can absorb the trial in their life, you are at their door with a four course meal. Or maybe you have a card in the mail before you understand all the details, because you just want them to know you are thinking of them. Some might just drop a quick note on email or text to insure the other person knows that they are there for them. This is the heart that shows kindness, but there is also another meaning for this word. If you are ready, let's read on.

The word kindness means a kind favor, but it's the synonyms that got me. The synonyms for kindness are grace, boon, and mercy. Grace means unmerited favor, Webster explains it as a virtue coming from God. Boon is a timely benefit or blessing. Mercy means compassion or forbearance shown especially to an offender. Forbearance is defined as patience. Ok, so this gives the word kindness a whole new meaning. It's not just the act of giving a beggar a dollar, or bringing a meal to the sick, it means to show and give love to someone who doesn't deserve it or at the time it is undeserved. That puts a whole new twist on it, don't you think?

Over and over again the bible tells us to forgive. In fact the word shows up at least 59 times in the New Testament. In Matthew 18, Peter asks how many times he should forgive. When he asks Jesus should he forgive up to seven times, Jesus tells him to forgive seventy-seven times. When we withold love from someone we are angry with, or hold back forgiveness, we aren't hurting them, we are hurting ourselves. To not forgive is to appease Satan. To hold back kindness to someone who has hurt you, opens the door for the enemy. Once you open that door, you would be surprised at what you have just let in. Oh the many tools that Satan unloads out of his evil toolbox. The hammer of anger that allows words and actions to come from us that we don't know how to explain. The wrench of bitterness that tightens the heart until it's unable to love. The miter saw that severs families over small disagreements. His tool box is full, and he is ready and waiting for the invitation of unforgiveness.

If you can remember in Luke, after they made Jesus carry His cross up to Calvary. After beating Him profusely the entire way, spitting in His face and taunting Him with sarcasm and wicked comments. They drove nails into his wrists and feet to keep Him from falling off and stood and watched Him die of lack of oxygen. Jesus spoke from that cross but the words that came from His mouth made no sense at all "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do." He is saying, the love of God is not in them so they do not know what is right. He is asking God to forgive the ones that are crucifying Him. If that isn't the epitome of undeserved favor, I don't know what is.

So let's learn from the most amazing example given to us and forgive. Let's forgive those who hurt us, let's love those who don't deserve it. Let's make Satan's toolbox so dusty that he will have nothing else to do but to sell it on ebay.