Monday, July 20, 2009

What is love? It is kind and it cares!

This aspect of love is active, so it looks for a way to be constructive and useful, to invest in, honor, and declare others valuable. We are to look for the best in other people. We are to spend our energies and time encouraging and building one another up, not tearing them down. We are to bring out the best in our friends and spouses by always treating them with kindness. We are to tell them the truth in love and with care. You see, God takes the circumstances in our lives and uses them in constructive ways for personal growth and for better support for one another. God is not treating us as objects to be manipulated or controlled, because He has given us free will. We should do the same with one another. Therefore, we need to always be seeking the healing of relationships, and be cautious in our judgments toward others.

Real love is self-giving and sacrificial; it is more concerned with others than with self. Here, the image is the sacrificial, costly, and self-denying love of Christ given to us that should also be given to others by us. Yes, one of the hardest things about being a Christian is to show kindness—especially to a person who has hurt us; but, see how much Christ was hurt on our behalf. The point here is that real Christian love will produce kindness; if it does not, something is off or very wrong in us. Real love and the exercise of it is not simply an outward change of our manners; it is an internal change of our hearts. The love that begets kindness is shown by our tenderheartedness that is the result of God’s touching us; therefore, we are sensitive and compassionate toward others. This allows us to react in a healthy and timely approach quickly and assuredly. If our hearts are hard on the inside and we are trying to show our good manners on the outside, it is not biblical kindness, and it will not last. We will be neither tender nor sensitive, and we will not respond as we should. Love and kindness cannot be faked, nor can they be superficial; they have to come from the changed life that rests within as poured out to us from our Lord. It will have depth that has been built from lives that exercise worship, devotion, and study, and that are real and impacting, always learning, trying, and failing, yet continuing to be kind anyway (Mark 12:28-31; John 3:16, Matt. 22:34-40; John 3:16; 13:1, 34-35; 14:1; 15:9; Rom. 1:31; 5:10; 12:10; 1 Cor. 13; Eph. 2:4-7; Phil. 2:2; Col. 1:1-6; 3:12-14; 1 Thess. 1:3; 2:8; 3:6; 12; 4:9-10; 5:8; 13; 2 Tim. 3:3; Heb. 10:24; 1 John 4:7-12).

To get a better understanding of kindness, we need to look at how God is kind with us. Like giving us life and provisions, and of course, His saving grace that we do not deserve. When we get the message of the incredible prize and honor He has bestowed upon us, we should have the inclination to respond by that knowledge. So, who Christ is and what He has done for us builds our faith and maturity; then, that essence we have learned can be poured onto others with whom we are in contact. We can know the value of God’s love and allow it to affect us and flow to those around us, as we come to know Him more fully. When this knowledge affects our hearts and feet, we will learn how to build and apply a value system to last a lifetime. That way, we are living in response to His love, in the value that is also expressed by our love and kindness. Also, by knowing more about God’s kindness, we will gain a picture of His providence. This means we can be assured that God is in total control; thus, we can trust our Lord completely, whatever unfolds before us. The ultimate love of God is that He laid down His life for His enemies!

Questions to Ponder

1. How is this aspect of love active? Why is that important?

2. How does love show honor to others and declare them valuable?

3. What are you going to do now to bring out the best in your friends, spouse, coworkers, church folks, and the various people in your life?

4. In what ways can you treat others with kindness?


Post a Comment

<< Home