Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Love is Kind :)

Last Sunday, I got to visit a community church for the very first time. It was situated in a subdivision or a town homes miles away from my city, and it was how I imagined a local community church would be like.. a simple structure in a safe and pleasant village where everyone probably knows their neighbors and bake cookies for new movers. The structure was not really that impressive. At first I thought it was the white 2-story house at the corner of the road, but no, it was the smaller and emptier lot right beside it. It's green gate and a smiling face of an elderly man welcomed me as I walked in. I saw children seated in an air-conditioned-less room excited for their Sunday School. Then I walked through a narrow passage way leading to the backdoor of the bungalow. It was a room that would probably serve as a living room if it were turned to a house. It had wooden floors and walls with about 40 chairs lined in rows at the middle. There was a small platform in front that held their altar, a drum set and two guitars.

It was a simple church serving its simple purpose. People gathered together to worship and grow together in God. Sometimes modern, highfalutin churches replace this basic necessity with theatre-like services, concert-type praise and worship and other interesting and entertaining programs. And sometimes, what were once a product of good intentions (i.e. new ministry, new technology, new focus) would draw the church away from how Jesus first intended it to be.

The topic for the day was kindness. It started with songs of praises which reminded me of God's great kindness, of how it can bring us to repentance, and how His overwhelming kindness can never be repaid. Then came the speaker. He was a pastor who also had a day job (just like Paul the tent-maker). He did an exposition on Matthew 25:40, "The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.'"

To see the context of the verse, he discussed the verses from 31 to 40.

The Son of Man, Jesus Christ, will judge the people and separate the righteous from the unrighteous, to separate those who'd be going to heaven and hell. During this judgment moment, he distinguishes the saved from the perished. Those who are saved have received an undeserved kindness from their Father, and are tasked to pay-it-forward. Kindness is not merely a feeling of sympathy or empathy, it is an act.

Jesus (the King) tells us several ways of showing kindness, to give food for the hungry, drink for the thirsty.. home.. clothes.. care. Some of us may ask, "when did we (or will ever) see you hungry, or thirsty or in need of a home that we may help you?"

Here's His reply, "I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me."

You may ask questions like, "who are the least of Your brothers?"

Well they are the poor, sick, widowed, unkind, undeserving. They could be the unfortunate teenagers in the streets who irritatingly wipe your car windows with mysterious soap and water, robbers who got your wallet and ipod touch last week, classmates who couldn't pay you back their loan, the husband who cheated more than once, the father who is abusive, the cop who cunningly hid behind the big coconut tree, the uncle who raped you, the brother who took all your parents' attention, the teacher who humiliated you in front of the whole class, or the tax collectors who always ask for a bribe.

But you realized that they're not your "brothers" in Christ.

We should remember that we were once goats also. We were not born righteous. And Jesus Himself showed us kindness even when we were (and still are) sinners! So it's better that we show kindness without any discrimination, who knows, your greatest enemy might just get to know Jesus Christ because of your surprising kindness.

Of course it's very difficult to show kindness to the undeserving. Only if we realized the overflowing kindness the Lord has blessed us with will we be able to do so. If you remember the FRUIT of the Holy Spirit in Galatians 5, kindness is part of it. The FRUIT includes love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Take note: it's FRUIT without an S. This means that all these attributes must work together. You cannot love without the other. You cannot love the jeepney driver if you don't have patience when he suddenly cuts you in the road.

Showing kindness is very random. When opportunities rise (meaning they're uncalled for), take them. You might not know that God's already using you in that person's life.

Another thing we should remember when helping is that it is only between ME (or you), the PERSON we're helping and GOD. The PERSON who experiences the grace of God may know of the help, but the rest of the world does not need to know.

There are several ways of showing kindness, be it in words or in actions. And most often, we must be sensitive to God's leading in doing so. Who knows, it may already be Jesus we'll be helping next. :)

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