10/8/1998 0 Comments
1 Corinthians 13:4--Love is patient, love is kind. Love does not envy, is not boastful, is not conceited,
Titus 3:4,5--But when the kindness of God our Savior and His love for mankind appeared. He saved us—not by works of righteousness that we had done, but according to His mercy, through the washing of regeneration and renewal by the Holy Spirit.
One of the saddest notions of humanity is the belief that unprincipled acts are justified if they prolong power. Every week in the world a village is ravaged, some family is made homeless, crops are burned down, an idealist is imprisoned, an opponent is slandered to further the causes of those who would inflict their will on others. The exercise of evil never engenders loyalty or the favor of people—instead it produces bitterness, resentment and suspicion. It fertilizes seeds of revenge that one day bear the fruit of treachery.
When we experience injustice our natural response is to attack. In the name of justice we are quite capable of becoming ugly. Yet is it ever right to engage in immoral actions to protect what we hold as sacred? Those, who in God’s name do evil things, will never reach ungodly people. Which action is more likely to bring a mother contemplating abortion to Christ—offering to help provide adoption or picketing a clinic while chanting inflammatory slogans? What leads a president burdened with immoral actions to repentance—believers praying for him or deluging his office with hate mail?
We Christians desperately want the world to like us. We want our nation to behave morally. As our land slips deeper into spiritual bankruptcy we are more prone than ever to rallying behind politicians we trust to save us. But God said in His Word that we would be hated because of Him. He already told us that the world is not going to get better. We are not the ones who are being rejected—God is. People unwilling to yield their hearts to Jesus take out their animosity on us—and we are surprised! Therefore, the more we fight for our rights the more susceptible we are to missing our opportunities to truly reach people with the good news of Christ. What makes us different as God’s children is not our political might but rather the grace that God extended to us to change our lives—the same grace He wants us to model to reach others. “Everyone should look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others. Make your own attitude that of Christ Jesus,”(Philippians 2:4,5).
The great advancer of power is kindness. God proved this truth. He created us and by His sovereign might He could have forced us to follow Him. Instead, He did a most amazing thing. He despaired of man’s futile attempts to keep His law and decided to sacrifice the very One He loved the most, His Son. He resolved an eye for an eye by turning the other cheek. Jesus refused to call the legions of angels at His service; instead dying in agony while forgiving the very ones who had Him murdered. He extended mercy, not wrath, to demonstrate His power was made complete by love.
If we want to be effective messengers of the gospel we must look for opportunities to exercise kindness. The people we mingle with each day will not find salvation in our moral crusades. What they yearn for is the peace that surpasses understanding. To lead them to Jesus we must be visible expressions of grace in action. When we practice kindness in the name of Jesus, we minister to hearts. Therefore we ought to ask God to give us the sensitivity and discernment to see opportunities to minister to those around us and the courage to follow through.
You cannot do a kindness too soon, for you never know how soon it will be too late.—Ralph Waldo Emerson
How far you go in life depends on your being tender with the young, compassionate with the aged, sympathetic with the striving, and tolerant of the weak and the strong. Because someday in life you will have been all of these.—George Washington Carver
©1998 Daniel York ARR. Reveration is the weekly devotional ministry of First Cause. If you would like to receive these devotionals go to www.firstcause.org and click on the “Click here to receive weekly devotionals” box. Unlimited permission to copy this devotional without altering text or profiteering is allowed subject to inclusion of this copyright notice.
Ecclesiastes 12:10-The Teacher sought to find delightful sayings and to accurately write words of truth. (Holman CSB)
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