Be kind and compassionate to one another. (Eph. 4:32)
ON CHRISTIAN KINDNESS
IT HAPPENED AGAIN TODAY. A discussion between Christians on a popular social networking site boiled over until Christians put derogatory labels on one another, hurling accusations back and forth. This time, not only were there unbelievers watching, but they jumped into the fray too—saying that if this is what it means to be a follower of Christ, then they couldn’t imagine having anything to do with the whole thing.
Sometimes it’s the most basic instructions that are easiest to overlook. We can get so wrapped up in being right, defending our reputations, or engaging in “righteous anger” or indignation that we forget one of the most fundamental guidelines the Bible offers to followers of Christ: to act in kindness toward others. For Paul, as for Jesus before him, kindness was not an option. It was the most visible and most easily attainable way to keep the second greatest command: to love your neighbor. Paul said to keep our hearts soft toward others and to be ready to forgive. This is what it means to imitate God, who is so eager to show His kindness to us.
Kindness most often begins with giving the other person the benefit of the doubt. Refuse to think the worst. Instead, assume that the other person has the best of intentions, and go out of your way to communicate with gentleness.
Be kind; you never know who might be watching.
Kevin Scott is a member of the pastoral staff at Stephen Ministries, where he serves as a writer, teacher, and leader and is the author of ReCreatable.