My friend, Carol in Sunbury, Pennsylvania, mentioned an occurrence of signs popping up on the streets of her town which simply urge “BE KIND”.
My friend, Jim, lamented that people, i.e., the world, are so UNKIND. Indeed, Jim’s assessment is backed by news headlines and social/political commentary on the media outlets.
Another friend confided in me a few months ago that she and her boyfriend are taking their relationship to the next level. (Hope they are taking an elevator. Folks our age can’t be wasting time). She also commented that she will always remember me as a gentle, KIND man. Coward’s way of saying, “You are no longer in contention for my man of the year award.”
Gentle?? I have no choice. I am old and fragile; I have to be gentle.
Kind? That’s a matter of definition and opinion. We should talk about it, shouldn’t we?
Nothing defines ‘kind’ better than a passage from 1 Corinthians, chapter 13. I’m sure you know it well.
Verses 4-8 tell us that kindness is love:
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.
Considering the events in Buffalo and Uvalde, is it time to cast aside love and kindness, shut off our media devices to keep the images of terror and hatred outside our realm of reality hoping to protect ourselves from the unimaginable pain and horror? Should we hide away behind closed doors in fear and distrust, turn off that part of us that thrives on love and patience, kindness and truth?
We would like to think, “Yes, I can do that.”
But we deceive ourselves if we try to do that. That is not whom we were designed to be.
As children of a magnanimous God, we have been created to also be magnanimous, to be generous and noble, not petty in conduct or in thought. We have been blessed with the courage to face darkness and ugliness and have been given the tools to confront the wrongs of our society whether that which is wrong is social injustice, poverty or murder of children. We have been saved from our own personal hells, our personal treks through darkness.
I was given a new life, a restoration, a reclamation when I said, “My name is Larry, I am an alcoholic.”
And it was all by grace, an unmerited and undeserved gift of a power greater than myself which even today I cannot define or understand. That’s how it is supposed to be – a mystery which I trust will be revealed when I leave this physical plane of existence.
But there is a price to pay for this gift. 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 names this price. This is what God expects of me when times are tough, when minds are frazzled, when hatred wants to take center stage, when human understanding fails.
We can have our temper tantrums, we can scream at the trees, we can swear revenge. But in the end, we will resume our civic duties to turn the tide on violence and hatred and we will return to the love and kindness that floods the darkness with light.
That’s God’s way and that’s the path of sober living.
SOBER TODAY? GIVE YOURSELF AND YOUR HIGHER POWER A HAND.