What do you think of when you hear “kind”? – seems tame..? Like a cherry on top – you may take it or leave it but it’s a nice touch. I wouldn’t place it with the likes of powerful, influential, riveting, tremendous. But I’ve had to reconsider…
When I got to thinking about “acts of kindness” for this blog series I started to consider what my contribution to the kindness dialogue would be – I felt the need to be showing kindness and then the crunch. I felt that I needed to be displaying some simple, daily acts of kindness to sincerely reach out to people around me. I really wish I could relay some lovely, genuine stories of acts of kindness. Instead, full disclosure – I’m empty handed. A card I had written as a simple act of kindness is still sitting on my counter instead of en route and then there’s the 20 other notes I mentally wrote and didn’t actually make it on paper.
Okay but please, hang with me here. A few days back my heart sprung with excitement when it dawned on me that the Kindness of God is the ultimate source of any small or huge act of kindness – and that is worth talking about! His kindness is on a whole other level. It’s constant, it’s an irrevocable part of who He is. It changes everything, everywhere, always. Anything kind I could do is a mere offshoot of who He is.
The kindness of love is like the ocean, like the waves. I grew up on an island so naturally I have an affinity for the lapping waves on the varied terrain of the sea shore. I could get lost and inspired staring at the waves, the vastness of the ocean, and just taking it all in. I’ve spent countless hours on the ocean, in the ocean. And there’s one thing I know – it changes you…it’s a force that can’t be reckoned with. As much as you may intend on going on one direction in the ocean, the water, waves, and wind have the final say about how that will end up for you. If the tide or surf or current is going in a given direction, it will certainly turn you around to the ocean’s pattern of direction. I’ve experienced this on many occasions – sailing, rowing, swimming, attempting surfing. I’ll save those stories for another time and let’s jump into the kindness of God.
Or do you think lightly of the riches of His kindness and tolerance and patience not knowing the kindness of God leads you to repentance? Romans 2:4
A common way to define repent in the bible is to turn – turn around, turn back. Turn away from something, and towards God. I love that the kindness of God is such a powerful force that will turn you in a whole other direction. His kindness comes over us, washes over us and sets us in the right way to go.
Recently I was doing a home project and in between the intermittent swinging and banging of the hammer I was listening to a series on Jonah from Rightnow Media. The Kindness of God is on point here. A lot of us are familiar with the of account of Jonah. The skinny on Jonah: He was running away from God, on a ship, the sea conditions became unbearably stormy, Jonah had to be thrown overboard, a whale swallowed Jonah, Jonah had an encounter with God in the belly of a whale, and Jonah survived the stench and disgust of the whales belly, turned to God and did what God was asking. But let’s back up and check this out a little more carefully.
The men rowed desperately to return to land but they could not, for the sea was becoming even stormier against them. Then they called on the Lord and said “We earnestly pray , O LORD, do not let us perish on account of this man’s life and do not put innocent blood on us; for you O LORD have done as you pleased. Jonah 1: 13,14
Do you see this?!!! The kindness of God, just like the ocean, a force compelling everyone to turn to God. The Kindness of God is the foremost player in this whole “story” right from the beginning. God was directing Jonah to go to Ninevah, a city full of evil, distasteful people because of His kindness and compassion for them. When Jonah finally went with God’s plan and told the people of Ninevah about God, they had a genuine change of heart, they earnestly believed in God and turned from their wicked ways.
God saw what they had done, that they had turned away from their evil lives. He did change his mind about them. Jonah 3:10 The Message
Instead of the looming judgment of God and calamity that was about to hit them, they were struck with the riches of the kindness of God, which lead them to repentance and salvation.
God wants to use us to show people this crazy, compelling kindness of God. Even if we are in denial and grumbling about it like Jonah and even if it’s people we don’t want anything to do with, like Jonah. But for us, He even promises a heavenly super-power to do this if we receive it. He gives us the Holy Spirit who first came upon Jesus’ friends as a mighty wind, and now He will fill us and equip us with this power, the kindness of God, “a fruit of the Spirit” (Galatians 5:22).
God’s power at work through us can show people kindness. But ultimately, Jesus came as a powerful rescuer and did what no one else can. We are all stuck in a storm headed in the wrong direction a part from God. Draped with kindness, He rescues us from the impending doom of our own waywardness. The wind and waves bow down at His name and He came and shows us everlasting kindness.
But when the kindness of God our Savior and His love for mankind appeared, He saved us not on the basis of the deeds which we have done in righteousness but according to His mercy by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit. Titus 3:4, 5.
In Ephesians, Paul says that this kindness is even more than we can grasp “…in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.” There’s so much more to His kindness than we currently know! This is a lavish kindness that washes over and renews us. We are changed in His kindness. It lets us grow in character and reach out to people in new ways. I bet we can see His kindness at work in people around us. Over the past few years there are a few times that ladies have reached out to me. It’s been something simple but moments I will always remember and that have really blessed me, made me feel loved and noticed. Like gazing at the vastness of the ocean, let’s be captivated by this kindness, beautifully wrecked by it and powerfully extend it to others.