... and be kind
"Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you." Ephesians 4. 32
Did you know that today is World Kindness Day? Neither did I. But bring it on! Kindness has to be the most under-rated value. Often dismissed as a form of weakness, I would contend it deserves recognition as an unlikely hero. Kindness can be a life-saver, akin to the proverbial "cup of cold water on a hot day". Like gentleness it brings a human touch to adverse situations and is therefore not for softies but for those with the capacity to reach beyond their own comfort, in order to minister to the needs of others.
The Bible frequently draws our attention to God's acts of kindness in providing for our daily needs and, ultimately, his supreme act of kindness in sending us a saviour. Jesus expressed his kindness in dying for us "while we were yet sinners", in other words "though we neither deserved nor appreciated his sacrifice". And he so appreciates it when we show kindness to others, that he says it is as if we are ministering to him.
Motive is important. Helping others should not be calculated to secure a reward for ourselves: either because we crave that warm, fuzzy feeling or because we want others to recognise our generosity. To be genuine it needs to be for its own sake, or for the sake of the one to whom we are being kind. And, just to make sure, Jesus instructs us to keep it secret (let not your left hand know what your right hand is doing" Matthew 6.3). So, taking our cue from the rain which is falling so liberally outside, let us make it our business to soak this day in acts of kindness, including and especially towards those who do not deserve it - because neither do we!