Remember renting VCR tapes? That will age you! On every cassette there was a sticker, “Be Kind…Rewind”. Today in the age of Blu Ray and DVD, we forget what it was like to start a video tape and find that it was playing the credits. Did that ever happen to you? You would have to rewind the tape before you could watch it!
Although true kindness isn’t found at the beginning of a VCR tape, true kindness ought to be one of the marks of the Christian church. Paul writes in the later part of Ephesians 4 about how we ought to live our lives for Jesus. He shares practical advice on things we should and should not do. The pinnacle of what he shared is in the final verses of the chapter: Ephesians 4: 31 Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior. 32 Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.
I memorized Ephesians 4:32 in Junior Bible Quiz when I was in the sixth grade. It is a verse that has influenced me for most of my life. I never really thought about the contrast of the previous verse instructing us on how we should not live. There is a comparison found in these verses. You see a picture of the bitterness and anger of the old life contrasted with kindness and forgiveness. We have the command to be kind! Many people today have the picture of the church as an angry, hurtful bunch of people. Instead of that, kindness ought to define us and shape how we live! Kindness is who we are meant to be. Bitterness is the way the world is, not the church. The church should be characterized by a tender heart that is ready to forgive. If you think about it, when we are angry and bitter, we are the least like Jesus, and when we are kind and forgiving, we are the most like Him.
Whenever I think of the qualities that most reflects Jesus’ impact on my life, I may never think of kindness. Yet, it is His kindness that leads us to repentance. Kindness is one of the fruits of a Spirit empowered life. One of the greatest evidences of the work of God in your life might just be the application of kindness. How are you doing in that arena? Do people around you characterize you as a kind person? If not, focus on the kindness and forgiveness you have received and choose to live like Jesus.
This blog was written by Pastor Joel Wendland, Senior Pastor at River of Life Christian Center in Payette, Idaho. Pastor Joel is also the Region 1 Presbyter for the Southern Idaho Ministry Network.