Wednesday, September 9, 2015
We have spoken freely to you, Corinthians, and opened wide our hearts to you. We are not withholding our affection from you, but you are withholding yours from us. As a fair exchange--I speak as to my children--open wide your hearts also. (2 Corinthians 6:11-13 NIV)
I think the greatest deterrent to kindness is our own self-image. We become self-absorbed with our own tasks, problems, and priorities. We become self-conscious of our own flaws and try to hide them. We become selfish with our own resources and even crave more than we can afford. There is a reason that "I" was a key word in the marketing of computers and electronics: it worked. Our generation cares more about ourselves than our neighbors. Kindness, however, is all about the other person.
Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, tolerance and patience, not realizing that God's kindness leads you toward repentance? (Romans 2:4 NIV84)
Ironically, this is where a little honest self-examination could help out. Instead of trying to hide the flaws we put under the microscope, we would do better to come to terms with them looking through the eyes of God. Instead of worrying about our stuff and getting more, we would do well to remember where all this stuff comes from: God. Instead of putting ourselves at the center of the universe, we should recognize that God is already there - only then will all the planets rotate they way they should and the sun will rise and set once again as it did yesterday. We need a little humility. Looking at God will help.
At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another. But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life. (Titus 3:3-7 NIV)
When we look at our lives by backing up and looking at God, only then will we realize that our entire life is one big act of kindness. It is a gift. It is God's grace. Only then will kindness make sense to us. We give kindness because we have received kindness from God.
How about you? Does your own self-image get in the way of your kindness? Does the "I" generation stop you from seeing others? When you look at yourself standing next to God, does it humble you? Does God's kindness drive you to be kind?