Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Kindness

I was reading through John 18 a couple of days ago where we are taken to the Garden of Gethsemane, the night before Jesus' journey to the Cross. Remember when an armed guard approached the disciples and Peter drew his sword and sliced off his ear? Peter was trying to defend Jesus and keep Him protected. But what did Jesus do? He told Peter to put the sword away.

Peter was misrepresenting the mission and compassion of Jesus in doing something so careless. He was using violence and defensiveness and as a result, the man was wounded. Jesus walked over, put His hand on the man's ear and it was healed immediately.

Jesus is so different that we can be, isn't He? So kind. So compassionate. So forgiving and understanding. He is more concerned with making things right with others than in being right. God tells us through the Apostle Paul in Romans 2:4, "Don't you see how wonderfully kind, tolerant, and patient God is with you? Does this mean nothing to you? Can't you see that His kindness is intended to turn you from your sin?" I love this. His kindness. Are we showing that same kindness to others in our lives?

I think we can often be like Peter in this story in John 18. We draw our "sword" and become defensive, often times making is so that people will not hear a word we have to say. It's not lost on me that it was the guys ear that was cut off - could it be that we are cutting off the hearing of others when we lash out in careless defensiveness?

Maybe it's a fellow Christian who is living in a specific sin, and we feel the need to judge them and point it out in self-righteous and hurtful way. Or perhaps it's a non-Christian who doesn't understand the love and forgiveness of God, so instead of showing them His love, we only speak of His judgment and anger and try to scare them into a relationship with God. They feel attacked and have no desire to hear a word we have to say when we approach them like this.

Then Jesus comes along and says, "No, my way is better. Kindness and compassion is how we will show them the way." And He heals them. Only then can others hear what He has been whispering to them all along:

"I love you."


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