Live by faith, not by sight: Kindness
Has someone ever gone out of their way to be kind to you? Someone perhaps you don’t even know that well. Have you received kindness that was above and beyond for no apparent reason?
I don’t know about you but this type of kindness is hard to accept. It’s hard not to be skeptical of undeserved or out of the blue kindness. “Is there a catch?” Or “Is this a joke?” are normal thoughts.
Accepting undeserved kindness is vulnerable, because accepting it means embracing the help we didn’t want to admit we needed. It requires a swallowing of pride, and a heart of genuine gratitude.
How does it make you feel when someone goes out of their way for you? Is your knee-jerk reaction to begin formulating your plan for how you will pay them back? Or do you simply and humbly say, “thank you” and accept the gift of kindness & generosity?
But what about the kindness God extends to us? What does God’s kindness look like? Are you able & willing to accept His kindness?
Sometimes our thinking can be very black & white. We believe only good things should happen to good people and bad things should happen to bad people. If we are honest that’s what we want God’s kindness to look like.
Romans 2:4 teaches us a different theology of kindness, “Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, forbearance and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness is intended to lead you to repentance?”
In this verse from Romans we understand that God demonstrates his love and kindness on all people with a purpose. His purpose is “intended to lead you to repentance”. His kindness is for all, even for those who don’t yet know Him.
God’s greatest act of kindness was sending Jesus to the earth. His greatest act of kindness was giving us Jesus, the perfect, spotless, sinless one to pay the ransom for our lives. Jesus paid the price for our broken, messy, dysfunctional lives.
Titus 3:4-5 says, “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.”
Did you catch that? His kindness had and has nothing to do with us. His kindness doesn’t depend on our “holiness” or on our “acceptance” of him. His kindness depends on him, His character.
Yet as Paul tells us in Romans, it is “God’s kindness that leads to repentance.” His kindness is what causes our hearts to soften, our thoughts to shift, and our actions to change. In fact, as we experience the kindness of God it begins to transform us from the inside out.
What is hard for me to understand, much like trying to make sense of “good things happening to bad people”, why God would still be loving and gracious even to those who turn their back on him.
In the Old Testament, Nehemiah 9:17 we get a glimpse of God’s connectivity to his people. He doesn’t desert them or disown them because of their poor choices and rebellion.
“They refused to listen and failed to remember the miracles you performed among them. They became stiff-necked and in their rebellion appointed a leader in order to return to their slavery. But you are a forgiving God, gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love. Therefore you did not desert them.”
And He won’t desert you, either. And he won’t desert me.
The answer to my “why is God still loving toward those who turn their backs on Him?” is because He is kind. He is patient. He is slow-to anger. He is gracious. He is compassionate. His love abounds. He doesn’t play favorites. He doesn’t base His love & kindness on our actions.
When the chaos of this life makes no sense, and you are questioning, “why does God allow good things to happen to bad people, and bad things to good people”, remember that He is at work. He is at work in the hearts and lives of each and every one and He knows what each one needs. Why do all these things transpire? I don’t know. But I trust Him. I trust His kindness.
Knowing that He is at work can bring peace amid the storms of this life. Trust in His kindness. Trust in His goodness. Trust His compassion. Trust His love. Trust His patience. Trust Him.
Compassionate, loving and kind Father, I join with my brothers and sisters united under the blood of Jesus Christ, and I ask Father for eyes to see your kindness. Help us to see your kindness at work all around us. Help us to be so transformed by your kindness that we can walk by faith through uncertain circumstances and not by sight.
God I pray that we can lean on these promises from your Word. Thank you that we can know your kindness toward us is not based upon our performance but based on your character. I thank you that you will not desert us, even when we choose to turn our backs on you. I thank you that you are leading all toward repentance. I pray for our family and friends who have not yet decided to turn toward you, may they experience your kindness in a mighty way so that there is no doubt in their minds that you are for them, and may they hunger and thirst and find you, the only one who can satisfy them.
Thank you for being a patient Father, who coaches, molds, prunes and loves us. May all our coming, going & being bring you glory. In Jesus’ powerful name, Amen.
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Listen to this song and be encouraged today! Kindness by Chris Tomlin