I was struck the other day by the force of the words in Micah 6…
6 With what shall I come before the LORD and bow down before the exalted God?
… Shall I offer my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?
He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.”
Realize with me that the word that NIV translates as “mercy” could also be translated “Kindness.”
The call from the prophet is to not just do kindness but to “love kindness.” This is worth considering in that it takes us beyond the occasional “random acts of kindness” that we often hear about and into a radically new way of living I believe a way that will turn out to be an effective method of Gospel witness in our age.
The fact is that combative Christianity is simply not working as a way to mitigate our secular culture. What has been called “the culture wars” has not been successful in changing our society, and as a result, the church is often marginalized and mocked by those who have never experienced the grace and love that comes in a true relationship with Jesus. In short, a combative and aggressive posture is not strengthening our witness but weakening it. And that is eternally dangerous for those to whom we must bring the Gospel. What should we do?
The answer is to love Bible saturated kindness. It is to listen to Micah and realize what kindness is and is not.
Kindness is not doctrinal drift. We dare not miss the importance of a pure doctrinal stance that gives us the message of hope once for all delivered in the Word of God. Otherwise, we will turn the church into a “do good” force that might just as well be a secular club. We stand on the foundation of the fact that faith in Jesus and following the Word of God is the way that we find peace in this life and hope forever.
Kindness is not niceness. Niceness is often only surface and cosmetic and harbors an unwillingness to make any waves in order to produce a better result. Niceness often separates people as it is reduced into a polite but distant avoidance of issues. Kindness is less timid, more involved and riskier.
Kindness is not random, it is radical. Loving kindness means engaging the problems of our world in a determined, consistent and honest way. It will call us to a new humility and a new willingness to be patient with those with whom we disagree in the hopes of winning them to the love of Christ through the kindness of His people.
Kindness is living with a Christ centered, Bible saturated core that overflows our lives, bringing us to see those who are antagonists to the cause of Christ the way that Jesus Himself would see them. Remember, he said…
“…Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing."
That is kindness in action!
All of this undergirds our “GO” strategy as it relates to our city. We are seeking to do the kind of good deeds over the long haul of presence in our town that will render good will toward the people of God, and thus open the door for the Good News of Jesus in a way that combativeness will never accomplish.
It has been said that kindness is “the forgotten virtue.” I hope that we at Quail will revive the memory!