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The fruit of the spirit is love (Gal 5: 22). Do we always need to show kindness? Jesus was by far kinder than anyone who ever lived yet he was not always kind. In John 2 Jesus makes a whip to drive the merchants and money changers out of the temple. He tells the people that the temple is to be a house of prayer!! Just a short explanation: money exchangers would exchange roman coins for temple coins at a very low rate, and they would only allow the temple animal be used for sacrifices rather that the ones the people brought to use. Jesus was often critical of the Jewish leaders, but if you look close you will see it was because they refused to obey Gods commandments. For those who needed to be shown kindness he did so without hesitation.
In Luke 7: 11 – 17 we have the story of Jesus raising the dead son of a widow. There is no mention that Jesus was approached and asked to heal the dead man. Jesus just had compassion on this widow and raised here son, he did not ask for anything in return. In John 5: 1- 15 we have an account of Jesus walking by the pool of Bethesda and saw a man trying to get in for healing. Jesus walks up to the man and asks if he would like to be healed. After the man was healed Jesus told him to take his bed and go home. It was not until latter in the temple that Jesus told him not to sin anymore. There are many more examples that we could use to show the kindness and compassion that Jesus had for others. These acts of kindness had two purposes to them. First they were to relive the suffering and second they would bring the person to God. Can we imitate Christ in our daily lives?
Have you been in the check out line with a couple of items and there was a woman with a cart full and two small children behind you? Out of your kindness you would let her go first. What about those who stand on the street corners with a sign asking for money? My question is, are they really in need or are they just trying to get money the easy way? It is important that we know the tricks that some will use to play on our kindness. A few years ago we had a man come to our church claiming he needed a little help to get to northern Maine. He said that his sister was killed in a moose/car accident and his father had sent him from Texas to claim the body. It just happened that we knew a game warden from that area and he said there had been no such accident that year. A few days later the same person, with an Italian accent, was trying to cash checks at a local bank. As we imitate Christ we need to know when people need help or if they are out to help themselves. There is often a fine line between the two types of people.
How can we know who to show kindness to? Unless you know the situation of the individual it is hard to know who needs to be shown kindness and who does not. There are two questions that should be asked before we show someone kindness, (how do we live a life of kindness). First is to ask God how do we show kindness to others, and the other is how can we bring them to Christ? Our church is open for prayer Sat. morning. It has turned in to more of a mentoring time with prayer. This morning I was reminded of ways to show kindness to someone that is struggling at work. God is faithful in that as we imitate Christ he will show us how to show kindness. Can you share how you show kindness to others?