Today’s Bible reading
At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another. But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life. Titus 3:3-7
More thoughts for meditation
Sometimes you wonder if people even bother with the sections of the Bible that deal with the fruits of the Spirit, and specifically kindness. Avowed Christians are frequently seen in public angrily shouting at people outside abortion clinics or on the edge of gay pride parades. It hardly seems in keeping with the behavior Paul is endorsing above and in the rest of his letter to Titus. Paul doesn’t want to let us forget that we all needed and need saving and that we were and are all being treated kindly by God.
If you have a hard time understanding what Paul is driving at I think that’s a good thing. You’re probably not being a jerk to a lot of people. A helpful metaphor for what’s going on might be you as a child winning at anything. I think everyone goes through a phase where they aspire to the best at whatever task is occurring in the immediate vicinity, particularly if it’s a game being played by your peers. Winning feels great and children can easily get caught up in the moment, gloating and lording it over their playmates. It is irrelevant how many times they lost or how badly they may have felt when they lost.
Paul wants to correct two things in that scenario. The first is that you didn’t really win anything. Christ gave himself for you out of kindness. You didn’t really do anything to deserve it. The second is that you shouldn’t completely forget how bad it felt to be on the losing side. When you’re engaging with people who don’t know Jesus it doesn’t benefit you or them to treat them poorly. Everyone is served, including Jesus, when you are kind. Jesus is the Kindness of God
Suggestions for action
Pray: Jesus, humble me. Lead me to kind words and actions
Rewrite that Facebook post. Reconsider saying anything to your passionately atheist coworker. Spend the day considering what the kindest thing to do for a person might be. Keep in mind that being kind doesn’t require that you not speak the truth but let the truth be spoken in the spirit of love, both for God and for the person you are interacting with.