“Love is kind” II Cor. 13:4
When Julio Diaz walked off the subway a teenaged young man was waiting for him with knife in hand. The young man demanded Julio’s money. Julio handed over his wallet and then offered the man his coat as well. Julio said, “If you’re going to be mugging people all night you might need a coat to keep warm.” Julio’s kindness threw the young attacker off. The two ended up sharing dinner and having a heart-felt conversation. The teenager eventually returned Julio’s wallet to him along with his knife. Julio treated him to dinner and gave him $20 to boot.
On any given day I can open up my social media accounts and read the onslaught of anger and vengeance spewed out at this world in the name of Jesus. It’s disturbing to hear others claim allegiance to my King and then in the name of His Kingdom unleash a barrage of hate, criticism and judgment at people with whom they have no relationship. I was taught early on that you should praise in public and criticize in private.
How is it that as followers of the One who has shown us such great kindness, can at times show contempt with such impunity? In the book of Romans, Paul reminds us: “Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, forbearance and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness is intended to lead you to repentance?” Romans 2:4 NIV
As followers of Jesus there is a kindness that we can show that is from God Himself. Kindness in fact is Jesus’ trademark. It is His methodology to bring us to a place to change from our old ways and follow Him. Kindness should be a trademark of our lives.
To overflow with kindness we must first be filled with love. Paul tells us in II Corinthians that Love is Kind. If we are filled with contempt for the people of this world then when our barrel is tussled we will over flow with anger. Our words will be hateful and unkind. We will criticize others in their moment of pain. We will ridicule those found guilty. We will express our own self-righteousness in face of those different from us. We will be unkind.
If however we are full of love... If we have chosen (motivated by the love and compassion shown to us by Jesus) to love others then our lives and words will be dripping with kindness. We will weep with those who weep. We will bare one another’s burdens. We will not gloat over our enemy when he (or she) is defeated. Instead we will bless those who hurt us and pray for those who despitefully use us. We will be kind.
If we desire to see this world change it’s ways and move towards a life full of the love and redemption of Jesus, then we should follow His example. Let us love the people of this world so much that when they throw us around only kindness spills out.
You can hear Julio’s story in his own words at http://storycorps.org/listen/julio-diaz/.