The paradox of kindness

The paradox of kindness is that we like kind people but more often than not, we do not feel worth their kindness.

What do you think of when you think of kindness? Or who do you think of when you think of kindness? I think of the many people who have been readily generous with their time and energies to enable me to succeed over the course of my life. I assume that is what most people would think of when they think of a kind person. Someone who is selfless, generous, tender, warm-hearted. The paradox of kindness is that we like kind people but more often than not, we do not feel worth their kindness.

“If this person knew the mistakes I have made, they would be less kind, or maybe not kind at all.” Shame and insecurity are powerful forces, however, their power cannot exceed the loving-kindness of Christ. Two passages we are looking at this week are John 13:1–21 and 15:6–15. Even though these are significantly different passages they both speak to one specific truth: kindness is rooted in Christ.

In John 13, Christ washes the feet of His disciples, including Judas who would soon betray Him. In John 15, Jesus teaches His disciples to remain in Him and how remaining in Him grants access to His love, joy, strength, and ultimately kindness. If we mash these two passages together, the example we have from Christ is that despite who we are, what we have done, or what we will do, Christ loves us and came to wash our feet (John 13). That is our entry point.

Christ’s loving-kindness exceeds the reach of sin in our lives. He has washed us clean and in light of this, we are to remain in Christ (John 15). We cannot bear fruit apart from Him.

So in conclusion, here are three truths from these passages:

  1. You are worth kindness. Nothing you have done or can do can separate you from the love (and kindness) of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8)
  2. In Christ, you are able to be kind. I recently had a conversation with a mentor about over-eating. I jokingly said I could not resist that second plate because I like food so much and he said, “Yes you can, because of the Gospel.” Despite the examples, the baggage, the pain, the shame you feel, remaining in Christ’s vine (John 15) means death to self and anything that is not of Christ. Allow that truth to transform you. You can be more readily generous with your time and resources.
  3. Every bit of kindness you show to others is an example of the kindness Christ first showed you. Take advantage of that and remember that every time you are kind, you are evangelizing.

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