Love is kind! And don’t you forget it!
I don’t think most of us do. I just think most of us don’t really know what that means. Somewhere along the way “Love is kind.” gets watered down into “Love is nice.” or “Love doesn’t make waves.”
But I’m pretty sure Paul thought he had a grasp on love. I’m really sure that Jesus was the epitome of love. Yet neither of these men was always “nice”. As far as making waves goes both Paul and Jesus were relational tsunamis.
Jesus was the guy who called the Gentile woman “a dog” to her face in Ma. 15 (and even in the context of that day it really wasn’t a nice name). How many times did he offend the crowds he was speaking to?
Paul?… he could incite whole cities to riot. He even made one group so mad they stoned him. He’s the guy who wrote to the Galatians he hoped the Judaizers would slip and emasculate themselves. Now that’s a different kind of kind than the kind I was taught. How ’bout you?
So was Paul just failing to take his own advice when he wrote to the Galatians or was he maybe talking about something else? Well let’s take a look.
The word Paul uses for kind is :
chrēsteuomai-Kind (Adjective), Kind (Be), Kindly, Kindness: (Vine’s Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words)
Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary defines it this way:
kind-adj 1. affectionate, loving 2.a : of a sympathetic or helpful nature b : of a forbearing nature : gentle c : arising from or characterized by sympathy or forbearance <a kind act>: of a kind to give pleasure or relief
Kindness is the mindset of sympathy coupled with the desire to bring pleasure or relief; It is a forbearance that keeps us from giving others what they so richly deserve, while trying to help them see there is a better way.
Kindness can be “nice”. Yet it is more interested in being truly helpful than in building any certain perception of self. In other words when I am kind I am more interested in helping you than I am in making you think I am “wonderful”. When I am kind I may be politically incorrect but my motivation will be to lift up someone who has fallen down.
In Ma 15 Jesus was kind when he helped the Syro-Phoenician woman to discover she had a vital faith. He was kind,likewise, to confront those listening in, who thought they had faith with their self-limiting stereotypes.
Paul may have incited riots in Ephesus and Jerusalem but he didn’t do it for the shock value. He did it to bring the saving message of the gospel to the lost and dying. That was a kindness.
We are kind whenever we seek to do good for others even if they do not respond well in our offering.
Have you ever had to be harsh with someone in order to be kind to them? Tell me about it.