It seemed so simple, but I was gobsmacked by the profoundness of what was said. There, as I lay there, my wife scooped in my arms, in bed to sleep, I was wide awake with awe, at the advice I had five minutes earlier heard my wife utter to me.
All she said were these words, ‘Just remember to be kind to them, remembering how it felt when others were unkind to you.’ Everything in me in that moment wanted to defend or justify my position. But she said what she said in such a gracious way that she whispered me.
Sincerely, God had spoken those words through her. I knew immediately, in having been corrected, there were two powerful truths working in unison: The Holy Spirit was urging me, through my wife’s advice, to be kind, even though I felt affronted, and, I knew first-hand just exactly who my wife was referring to about those who were unkind to me. I have long resented the fact that some key others didn’t deal with me as gracefully as they could have. And here I was tempted to fall into the same trap.
Everyone deserves kindness, because everyone is coming from an angle where they deserve to be understood. Nobody goes about their way thinking it is wrong even if it is wrong. And yet, at the very moment we want to be unkind, when we are prepared to burn the friendship or even a budding acquaintance, to go there is so unnecessary when kindness can breathe hope into the despairing soul of a rapport about to destroyed.
Kindness gives the relationship just one more chance when one party or both are just about done. It is the grace of God, which is the undeserved favour we receive without ever having made a case for earning it.
Kindness is the will of God in all circumstances, no matter how offensive another person’s behaviour is.
It can turn an enemy into someone who is no longer threatened by us. It can turn a stranger into a friend. It causes people to take a second look our way to encounter beauty in life. Kindness is the redemptive power of God, which is a response of grace against the odds in response to an offence given.
This kindness response is learned paradoxically. I have learned through my experience of having been treated unkindly, just how much it hurts not to be treated graciously even when I’ve been in the wrong.
This is a compelling reason to be Christ follower: who else epitomised kindness even in death?
Kindness is learned most profoundly – the urgency of its importance – in having been deprived of it.