Friday, March 25, 2022
Why Give Kindness to Meanies?
When it comes to human relations, our natural inclinations don’t seem to get us very far. Everywhere we look, we find conflict. If our well-intentioned aim is to be a “good person,” we might try in difficult times, to go so far as to grit our teeth, hide our true feelings, and “Be Nice!” This passage from Luke reveals that God’s plan goes far beyond that misdirected aspiration.
“Treat others the same way you want them to treat you.” “Love your enemies and do good... expecting nothing in return.” It all sounds great…in theory. But as I think about my “every day, ordinary life—my sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life” as Eugene Peterson puts it, I wonder how I am to summon up love for those who pit themselves against me. How exactly does a person rise above the natural response to give back in kind when rejected, wronged, cheated, or slandered? Why has God asked me to act in a way that comes so unnaturally?
As God fits us for Kingdom living, He reveals to us His own character. God is “kind, gracious, and good to the ungrateful and the wicked”. His provision pours out on the righteous and the unrighteous. God removes from us the burden of deciding whether someone is “deserving” of our kindness and blessing. His way is to be compassionate and merciful to all. Since we have been the recipient of such unlimited grace and generosity, we are to walk in His way by simply seeking the best and highest good for all others.
Prayer: Gracious Lord, You have shown us mercy and kindness without reservation. Even when we want to follow you, we are weak and inconsistent. Bring power to our efforts to follow you as we learn to walk in your ways. We ask this in Jesus’ name, Amen.