Kindness can be a hard thing to give away

Published 12:00 am Monday, March 27, 2006

I’ve heard that kindness is a hard thing to give away – it just keeps coming back! Yet this truth notwithstanding, common courtesy, like common sense, is not all that common. Most of us are much more enthusiastic with receiving kindness than with extending it – especially toward those who disagree with us.

I don’t have to agree with you. I don’t have to approve of the things you do, the positions you hold, or the associations you choose to pursue. But I do have a divine obligation to be kind.

Where have we gotten the warped idea that difference in thinking permits discourtesy in speech and conduct? Such reasoning was certainly not learned from the Lord.

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Christ was the walking epitome of “truth in love.” Though he never compromised his convictions, though he often found himself philosophically and doctrinally at odds with his critics, he was kind.

Christ never refused to speak to someone he disagreed with. Christ listened. He always waited to hear the question before giving his answer. He didn’t get into shouting matches with his enemies. He never started or spread ugly rumors about others, even those who were actively working him harm. He never attempted to silence his critics by means of mean-spirited remarks, unfounded accusations, or demeaning fits of sarcasm.

We would all do well to follow his example.

To be right, doctrinally, is imperative: to be right in our dealings with others is of equal importance. Being long on scriptural argument gives no license for being short on scriptural attitude.

“When someone wrongs you, do not repay with another wrong. Plan honorable things among all people. If possible, as far as you are able, live in peace with all people. Beloved, do not take revenge, but give way to wrath, for it is written, ‘Justice is mine; I will repay,’ says the Lord. If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him a drink, because you will heap burning coals upon his head when you do this. Be not overcome with evil, but overcome evil with goodness.” (Romans 12:17-21, McCord).

May we determine to become more like Christ, “speaking the truth in love” (Ephesians 4:15). Let’s be kind.

-Marshall Murphy is pastor of the First Christian Church of Demopolis. He can be reached by calling (334) 289-9536.