“Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.”
Kindness is underrated. It’s all the rage these days to be a jerk in one way or another. Sarcasm is our second language. “Sass” is a lauded skill. In our world, no one’s feelings are more important than our own, and no one else’s experience trumps ours. We live in an “I’m right and you’re wrong” world.
In this verse from Ephesians, Paul gives us two goals, to be kind and to be compassionate. It’s crazy sometimes how rude and inconsiderate we can be to one another. What’s even crazier is how normal it is. No one would blame you for yelling at the customer service representative on the other end of the phone if you’re not receiving proper service. If someone cuts you off in traffic, everyone agrees you have the right to make some angry gestures and set them straight.
These things have become normal to us, but they’re not right. In the eyes of God, what’s right is kindness and compassion.
Ask yourself: is your first reaction to an inconvenience to be angry or frustrated? How do you treat strangers who have caused you trouble in some way? Do your words and actions do more to build people up or to tear people down?
The reality is that many of us are unkind without even realizing it just because it has been normalized in our culture. That doesn’t make it any more right. Christ calls us to live counterculturally, and in this instance it is through kindness and compassion. The world doesn’t tell you to think twice about whether that customer service representative is having a rough day. The world doesn’t remind you that the old woman who cut you off in traffic may be having a hard time driving and is terrified behind the wheel. Kindness needs no qualification, it should be our default.
Everyone has a story. Everyone has their own life, their own problems, their own hardships. It should be our goal never to add to those hardships, but to lift people out of them. It should be our goal never to bring darkness to anyone’s life, but light to all. We do that through kindness and compassion, forgiving as Jesus forgave, even when it isn’t deserved. Kindness, compassion, and forgiveness. Three things that we can never give enough of.
Help your Church to start a revolution of kindness. Help us to go against the stream and reject the norm of negativity, anger, and rudeness. Help us to be a light in the lives of everyone we come across. May our kindness and compassion lead people to you.
In Jesus’ Name,