There’s a meme floating around social media that has grown more popular through COVID times. One variant of it says this: “Everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about. Always be kind.”
Another says this: “In a world where you can be anything, be kind.”
Very warm and fuzzy indeed. But what does it mean to be kind?
The dictionary refers to it as the quality of being friendly, generous and considerate. Fair enough. But when we remember that one of the fruit of the Spirit is kindness, that kicks it up a notch for followers of Jesus.
Anybody can be friendly, generous or considerate when they need to be, or want to be.
Followers of Jesus, who have the Holy Spirit living in them, are called to bear the fruit of kindness, which is on an entirely different level. Consider what the apostle Paul wrote: “Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior. Instead, be kind to each other, tender-hearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you” (Ephesians 4.31-32, NLT).
See what I mean?
Being kind means more than being nice. There’s stuff to get rid of and stuff to appropriate. Paul suggests that being kind involves being tender-hearted, and forgiving other people in the same way Jesus forgave you.
Now there’s a challenge.
The good news is you can do it, because if you follow Jesus, you have his Spirit in you, and his Spirit enables you to be able to forgive in his way as part of being kind.
Are you harbouring a grudge against anyone? Today’s the day to let go and forgive.
That doesn’t mean what the other person did was right. It doesn’t mean you will forget. But it means you can release whatever was wrong into the merciful care of God, without taking it back.
You can do it. If you follow Jesus, his empowering Spirit will help you.