Kindness: The Power

Do you think about the kindness of Jesus? Some might think that ‘kindness’ is a wimpy or weak word that does not fit with Jesus. I think that kindness is a strong, powerful word because it takes a deliberate choice and extra effort to be kind. An act of kindness does not usually happen in an off-hand, accidental way.

When I read about Jesus and how He interacted with people, He went beyond the minimum and really connected with a person, showing the kindness of His heart and, in turn, the kindness of the Father’s heart. Jesus broke down walls of pain, bitterness, and despair with the power of His loving kindness.

In Matthew 9 (beginning with verse 20), we are told of a woman who has suffered for twelve years. Maybe she had a diseased like AIDS. She was ostracized by society. She had spent all she could with the medicine known and still was weak, even dying. We don’t know why she turned to Jesus. Desperation probably played a part in it. Do you see the kindness? Jesus stopped in mid-stride what He was doing and where He was going and turned to this woman. He could have kept walking, after all she was healed without ‘interfering’ in His current plan. But Jesus stopped. He wanted to identify the one who had received the healing. There was something more to be done. Jesus had a message to give. He called the woman … daughter. No where else in Scripture does Jesus call someone … daughter. For the rest of her life, she would know her name, given to her with extravagant kindness. More than her body was healed on that day.

In Luke 19, we are told the story of Zacchaeus. Zacchaeus was the IRS agent who had turned against his own neighborhood and made money off his neighbors by ‘cooking the books’ to collect more taxes. He was hated. Jesus could have glanced at Zacchaeus up in that tree, nodded to him, and went on His way. Jesus didn’t. Jesus called Zacchaeus out, in front of all the neighbors, and then chose to eat, break bread, with him. Jesus let it be known that He was about second chances. Zacchaeus recognized that and responded to that kindness by making a change, repenting, and receiving more than he imagined. More than his neighbors loved him that day.

At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another. But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life.         Titus 3:3-7 (NIV)

I can see the kindness of Jesus every day if I am looking. An email from a friend who says she is praying for me especially that day. How did she know that I needed the prayer and needed to know that God knew I needed the prayer? A peace in my heart in a difficult situation as my mind, miraculously, turns to God and I know that He was there waiting. He was not surprised in the situation and present in the lives of those involved before I even knew there was a need. That is such loving kindness. In the weakness of my day, it is the strength of Jesus’ kindness that sustains me and holds me securely in the assurance that He has turned His eyes on me and done more than I could imagine. Jesus: Savior, King, Lord, and, yet, gently kind.

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