Kindness of Jesus
I got in my car to drive. Anywhere and nowhere. I just needed open space and speed. I needed relief from grief and I needed to breathe. I turned the corner out of my neighborhood and the sky opened up in front of me like the opening curtain of a beautiful ballet. Colors were glowing upward from the horizon where the sun was setting in a stunning display. The whole heavenly show was slowly moving, always changing. Unlike a human painting, I knew this wasn't going to be viewed again, ever. It was for me, right now. To make me catch my breath and laugh with pure joy. Just for my joy. Because the kindness of Jesus is bottomless and breathtaking. Every. Time.
I drove toward the sunset, smiling and crying and thanking Jesus. He always knows what I need and He never holds back. He is always on time. And please hear this: He is always. Always. Kind.
Kindness isn't the word we often use for God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit. We use love. We use Holy. Provider. Redeemer. Sometimes even Friend. But what is a friend, if not kind? Why do we want to spend time with someone we love if not because we are drawn to their kindness?
When you are in the hospital, and a nurse takes care of your physical needs, what makes you truly grateful for her care? Is it the meds she pushes into your IV? The notes she takes, or the vitals she records? What if she does all that and then barks at you for pushing your call light too often? She is still caring for your health, right? But you don't feel any better if she is unkind. When you take the time to fill out a comment card with a positive note for your favorite nurse after a hospital stay, its because he/she spoke with kind words, used a gentle kind touch, and compassionately cared for you, not just your illness.
This is comparable to the difference between the God we sometimes portray as holy and just, as opposed to the Jesus in scripture and in personal experience, who is exceedingly kind. If you can't see it, I'm so sorry you have been deceived and misinformed. Yes, God is Holy and the Spirit of God convicts of sin and justice sometimes is served. But the God who created you for a relationship with Himself, the With Us God who came to our planet to be here, and die here, so we could be there with Him in eternity; He is full of grace and kindness and overwhelming compassion.
God made us in His image. In every way. He taught us how to be kind by example. Surely we can summon a way to follow that example of integrity punctuated by kindness. Do we really have to be the conviction team? Do we have to be the ones who tell everyone what they are doing wrong? Go look again in the Gospels. Jesus confronted sin with kindness. He sternly rebuked one group of people, and that was the group laying blame and spouting hypocrisy and impossible standards. He stood up for listening to children who needed to be heard, and justice for women who were falsely accused, and a lifestyle of sin was changed simply by saying, "I know why you keep looking for more, and you are still thirsty. Come, drink of the living water I have to offer." Even his betrayal was met with quiet words: "Go do what you need do quickly."
In the middle of the darkest day, I dare you to look for his kindness. It will literally take your breath away. It's more obvious and default human to look at all the reasons. What did I do wrong? Why is the devil fighting me so hard? How can I handle any more? I thought Jesus said He wouldn't give me more than I can handle, but look at my life! (Biggest lie in Christianity by the way.) The truth is, if you look, right in the middle of the day you think you can't handle, the kindness of Jesus will shine right through. And you will laugh out loud. It might be in the kindness of one who follows him. It might be in the beauty He has created just for you. It might be in the precious children he has given you, or the work you have to do with your hands for his glory. A song may come on the radio, or a piece of mail in your mailbox. Or a link to a book might show up on your social media that speaks to you so deeply that you read it all in one night.
In my humble opinion, what makes it kindness, is that it's above and beyond. He doesn't have to. He's the Maker of the Universe. Sometimes we did royally screw up. Sometimes, we are a total disaster. (Hypothetically) Sometimes, the thing we can't handle is just another day of mediocrity because we are too scared to step out and answer the call he keeps sending. But he gives us good gifts anyway. Just because He is kind. Just like the nurse in the hospital who does't just do what is necessary to keep you alive and recovering. He does that extra sweet thing that is just because he desperately loves you. Because He does.
Today, let's try to believe that. Instead of all the reasons, how about we look for His kindness? How about, instead of scolding our "friends" that we are trying to show Jesus to, we do something kind for them. Like He would. And when you round the corner, and he surprises you with his kindness, say Thank You.