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Love is Kind

     St Paul says, “Love is kind” (1 Corinthians 13:4 TEV).

A loving heart is a kind heart. Thus a kind person strives to make others happy. When he does good work for others he is kind. A kind person blesses others and when he blesses others he blesses himself. Unfortunately, he often forgets to bless himself at home. He forgets to be kind to his family members! How? He performs with a sour face or neglects the family activities such as:

·         Encourage each other

·         Cheer each other

·         Share time together

·         Smile at each other

·         Talk to each other

·         Have meals together

·         Help in the cooking

·         Wash up after the meals

·         Vacuum the home

·         Hang up the washing

·         Give up, readily, his favourite TV program to other

·         Share the computer

·         Give a listening ear, etc 

 

Since all Christians are called and challenged to be kind, how do we show kindness? Kindness shows itself by being generous, compassionate, and friendly.

A kind heart is a generous heart. A kind hearted person is generous with his time, money, advice and knowledge. His generosity is kind, when he does it:

·         privately---done not to be seen by others.

·         sensitively---done with great consideration for the dignity and the feelings of the recipient.

·         unselfishly—--done not to seek praise, publicity or rewards in return.

St Paul reminds us that, “Whoever shares with others should do it generously; . . . whoever shows kindness to others should do it cheerfully.” (Romans 12:8 TEV)

A kind person is compassionate and he seeks to ease another person’s pain. He takes the time to soothe another person’s anxieties, fears or anger. He uplifts the down-hearted and the discouraged with kind words. He knows that a kind word is often sufficient to make a sad person smile.

A kind heart is a friendly heart. Thus he extends kindness by being a friend. He shares their concerns and their sufferings. He listens patiently. He offers the glad hand of friendship and extends goodwill towards others. So do I hasten to search out his virtues whenever I happen to see his faults?  Remember, there is no happiness like that of a person whose heart is filled with goodwill towards others.

One thing a kind person always avoids is to hurt others with his criticism and sick jokes.

Although some people will take advantage of our kindness, we should never be afraid to be kind since kindness will do us no harm, brings us no bitterness and cause us no regrets.

 

Henri Nouwen tells us, “Being kind is a human attribute. When we say, ‘She is a kind person’ or ‘He surely was kind to me,’ we express a very warm feeling. In our competitive and often violent world, kindness is not the most frequent response. But when we encounter it we know that we are blessed. Is it possible to grow in kindness, to become a kind person? Yes, but it requires discipline. To be kind means to treat another person as your ‘kin,’ your intimate relative. We say, ‘We are kin’ or ‘He is next to kin.’ To be kind is to reach out to someone as being of ‘kindred’ spirit.

     Here is the great challenge. All people, whatever their color, religion, or sex, belong to humankind and are called to be kind to one another, treating one another as brothers and sisters. There is hardly a day in our lives in which we are not called to this.” (Bread for the Journey, Feb 4)

 

Yes, all of us are called to be kind so as to bless the people we meet. Thus we need to constantly remind ourselves:

Am I kind to the harassed check-out cashier who makes mistakes in my bill at the supermarket?

Am I kind to the driver who cuts across my path?

Am I kind to myself?

Can I be kind to someone who keeps interrupting me when I am at the computer doing something I want completed?

Am I gentle to displeasing people?

Am I tender-hearted or is my heart hard like stone?

Do I have to wound with words of retaliation instead of being kind?

When I am insulted do I answer back with kind words? St Paul says that, “when we are insulted, we answer back with kind words.” (1 Corinthians 4:13 TEV)

 

Here is how Max Lucado explains about the kindness of Jesus in the story of the woman with an issue of blood for twelve years (Mark 5:21-34):

“Later in the day a woman came by. Middle aged. Hair streaked with grey and pulled back. Dress was simple. Reminded me of a middle-school librarian. Face was wrinkled and earnest. Said she’d been sick for a dozen years. HIV positive.

‘That’s a long time,’ I said.

Long enough, she agreed, to run out of doctors, money, even hope. But worst of all, she had run out of friends. ‘They were afraid of me,’ she said. ‘Worried about catching the disease. My church hadn’t turned me out, but they hadn’t helped me out either. I hadn’t been home in years. Been living in a shelter. But then Jesus came to town. He was on his way to treat the mayor’s daughter, who was dying. The crowd was thick, and people were pushing, but I was desperate.’

She spoke of following Jesus at a distance. Then she drew near and stepped back for fear of being recognized. She told of inching behind a broad-shouldered man and staying in his wake until, as she said, ‘There were only two people between him and me. I pressed my arm through the mob and reached for the hem of his jacket. Not to grab, just to touch it. And when I did, my body changed. Instantly. My face rushed with warmth. I could breathe deeply. My back seemed to straighten. I stopped, letting the people push past. He stopped too. ‘Who touched me?’ he asked. I slid behind the big man again and said nothing. As he and the crowd waited, my heart pounded. From the healing? From fear? From both? I didn’t know. Then he asked again, ‘Who touched me?’ He didn’t sound angry—--just curious. So I spoke up. My voice shook; so did my hands. The big man stepped away. Jesus stepped forward, and I told the whole story.’

‘The whole story?’ I asked.

‘The whole story,’ she replied.

I tried to imagine the moment. Everyone waiting as Jesus listened. The crowd waiting. The city leaders waiting. A girl was dying, people were pressing, disciples were questioning, but Jesus . . . Jesus was listening. Listening to the whole story. He didn’t have to. The healing would have been enough. Enough for her. Enough for the crowd. But not enough for him. Jesus wanted to do more than heal her body. He wanted to hear her story—--all of it. The whole story. What a kind thing to do. The miracle restored her health. The kindness restored her dignity

And what he did next, the woman never forgot. ‘As if he hadn’t done enough already’—--her eyes began to water---‘he called me ‘daughter.’ ‘Daughter, be of good cheer; your faith has made you well. Go in peace.’ I’ve been told he never used that word with anyone else. Just me.’

After she left, I checked. She was right.

The kindness of Jesus. We are quick to think of his power, his passion, and his devotion. But those near him knew and know God comes cloaked in kindness. . . . Kind enough to bless a suffering sister.”

. . . . .

“Jesus’ invitation offers the sweetest proof of the kindness of heaven:

Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light. (Matthew 11:28—30 NKJV)

Farmers in ancient Israel used to train an inexperienced ox by yoking it to an experienced one with a wooden harness. The straps around the older animal were tightly drawn. He carried the load. But the yoke around the younger animal was loose. He walked alongside the more mature ox, but his burden was light. In this verse Jesus is saying, ‘I walk alongside you. We are yoked together. But I pull the weight and carry the burden.’

I wonder how many burdens is Jesus carrying for us that we know nothing about? We’re aware of some. He carries our sin. He carries our shame. He carries our eternal debt. But are there others? Has he lifted fears before we felt them? Has he carried our confusion so we wouldn’t have to? Those times when we have been surprised by our own sense of peace? Could it be that Jesus has lifted our anxiety onto his shoulders and placed a yoke of kindness on ours?

And how often do we thank him for his kindness? Not often enough. But does our ingratitude restrict his kindness? No. ‘Because he is kind even to people who are ungrateful and full of sin’ (Luke 6:35).” (A love worth giving, 25-26, 27)

 

Here is what Mother Teresa says about kindness:

“It is better to make mistake in kindness than to work miracles with unkindness. It is very important to be kind to ourselves and control ourselves by keeping our balance. If we want to live in peace and harmony with each other we must pay attention to our tongue. Especially when we deal with the poor we must be very careful in talking to them.” (The Joy in Loving,   18 October)

“Be kind in your actions. Do not think you are the only one who can do the efficient work, work worth showing. This makes you harsh in your judgment of others who may not have the same talents. God will ask of that sister only what He has given her, and not what He has given you; so why interfere with the plan of God? All things are His, and He gives as He pleases. You do your best and think that others do their best for God’s own purpose. Their best may be a total failure—--what is that to you? You follow the way He has chosen for you. For others also, let Him choose.” (A Life for God, 66)

If sometimes we feel as if the Master is away, is it not because we have kept ourselves far from someone? One thing will always secure heaven for us: acts of charity and kindness with which we have filled our lives. We will never know how much good just a simple smile can do. We tell people how kind, forgiving, and understanding God is—--are we the living proof? Can they really see this kindness, this forgiveness, this understanding, alive in us?” (A Life for God, 65)

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