“A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he fell into the hands of robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side.
But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, took him to an inn and took care of him” (Luke 10:30-34 NIV).
In our journey of discovering what matters most to God, let’s continue to ponder what He says in 1 Corinthians 13. The second quality identified in 1 Corinthians 13:4 is that a Christian who reflects Christlike love is kind. Think of kindness as “selflessly caring about and helping others.”
The foundation for kindness includes two principles. First, kindness is a choice. A Christian can respond to a situation or person in any of three ways: kindly, unkindly, or absentmindedly. God calls us to the highest of those choices: Be kind.
Second, kindness is an action. In God’s eyes, it is not just the thought that counts; that thought must morph into action.
Christlike kindness comes in many models. For example, a committed Christ-follower is:
- Friendly: Accepting others as they are, welcoming newcomers warmly, listening to others, and protecting others
- Compassionate: Caring for and helping others who are in difficult circumstances
- Generous: Willingly helping others with gifts of time, money, encouragement, or other resources
- Forgiving: (Stay tuned for more on this major act of love in Part 8 of this series.)
In these and other ways, that person reflects to others the lovingkindness that God extends to us day-by-day. The world’s rule may be “Do to others before they do it to you.” But God’s golden rule is “Do to others as you’d like them to do to you” (Matthew 7:12).
In that context, let’s review the ways kindness shows up in Luke 10. The priest bypasses a person in severe need, perhaps having just led in an impressive public sacrifice at the temple. The Levite responds likewise, maybe on his way to taking a break from temple duties for a couple days. God shows no pleasure in either of these two men despite their religious status and ministry at “church.”
In contrast, that humble Samaritan—disrespected by most Jews—responds with Christlike kindness. He was friendly, interrupting his plans to reach out to a stranger. He was compassionate, treating and bandaging the unknown victim’s wounds. He was generous, using his time and resources to (a) remove the wounded one from more danger, (b) find a place for him to recover, and (c) provide for the victim’s needs.
Do you want to honor Him and do what matters most to Him? I do. Let’s befriend another person we’d ordinarily ignore. Let’s be compassionate. Let’s be generous. Let’s forgive. In short, let’s be kind.
© 2018 John C Garmo