|Ephesians 4:32 – “Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.”
David Brooks, writing in one of his books, talks of marriage.
He says when it comes down to deciding who to marry, choose kind over exciting because kind lasts.
But that’s the problem. What exactly is kind?
It is feeding every stray animal in the neighborhood?
Is it smiling at people on the street on in a store?
Is it holding the door for someone at the coffee shop?
The problem with kindness is that we usually know it when we see it but cannot completely give a description.
Haddon Robinson knew. He talked of a time a young man witnessed it in someone he would have never described as “kind.” Here is what Robinson said:
We had a lady in our church. Her name is Mrs. Anita Whinny. She was a wealthy woman and a very cultured woman, and she invited several of us at the church to go as her guests to a very formal dinner. Then she spoiled it all, because she invited my father to come as well.
My dad didn’t know the rules. I knew it was going to be a long evening.
We got there and my father sidled up to one of the waiters who was dressed in a tuxedo and asked him how the tips were in a place like this. Then when he sat down, he opened the menu, it had the items but no prices. My father had never seen anything like this, and he said, “How do you order? You don’t want to just take all the expensive things.” I said, “Dad, that’s the way it works here.”
When they passed the food, there were times in which he took the shortest distance between two points. It was a tough evening.
What surprised me was a few days later we were at church and Mrs. Whinny was there and I thanked her for the invitation. She said, “I’ve already gotten a thank you note from your father. I’m glad he could come. He’s such a gentleman.” I thought she was putting me down, but she was too gracious to do that.
That is kind–to treat people better than perhaps they deserve and to see the best in others, even those who do not meet our own standards.
I think of Paul writing to the Ephesian church.
It was kind of a blended family.
The Jews who had respected the law all of their lives were there.
But there was a good share of Gentiles, coarser, whose past life shamed even the weakest of the Jews.
And here they were, together in God’s family. How do you act toward both cleansed and filthy?
He told them, “Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.” (Ephesians 4:32, ESV)
Kindness is easiest when we stop and think about how kind God is to us. Then, can we not treat others with the same kindness?
–Robert G. Taylor