We all know that we’re supposed to be kind to others, and we genuinely want to. But it’s easy to get off track when we’re stuck in traffic, feel like we were wronged, face loud, contradicting viewpoints, or are even criticized for our own beliefs. How does the Bible tell us to respond to our adversaries? How did Jesus treat those who criticized Him? In I Peter 2:23, it says that “while [Jesus was] being reviled, He did not revile in return; while suffering, He uttered no threats, but kept entrusting Himself to Him who judges righteously.” Jesus did not argue with His critics. He did not keep a grudge or become angry with them. Instead, Jesus carried on teaching from village to village because His focus was on pleasing God, not those who had wronged Him.
So, while none of us are perfect, we are called to become more and more like the Perfect One. That means we respond with respect, we respond with love, we respond with peace, and we respond with the hope of unity in mind. If we, as Christians, started responding with this type of kindness in every situation, to every person, everywhere we go, we would stand out.
People wouldn’t be able to ignore the difference we’d be making in our families, our communities, and ultimately in our world. And when we do that, we become the salt and the light (Matthew 5:13-16). If we can turn kindness into something that’s not just an act, but a way of life that automatically flows through us as we journey on this earth, we will be pleasing the One who showed us the ultimate act of kindness when He gave His life to redeem us.
When I was a water safety instructor many years ago, I had to do mouth-to-mouth resuscitation on a drowning victim. This involved putting my mouth to their mouth and breathing into their lungs to help them find life again.
As Christians, it is important to check in regularly with ourselves regarding how we use our mouths. Are we, as God says to, speaking grace to those who hear us? Are we speaking truth at all times? Are we demonstrating to nonbelievers that we truly care about them? Do they know, when we’re sitting beside them, that we’re there to help and not hurt? And when they hear us, do they recognize our words as life-giving?
Kindness is demonstrated through good words. With every breath, we have the opportunity to say words that tear down, or words that build up.
Nobody is perfect. But with how we talk to others, we can show them that the goodness of God is worth discovering and enjoying. We can allow them to have a taste of God’s kindness by how kind we are to them.
“Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear.”
“Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, and forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.”
Lord, make my words pleasing to all who hear them. Fill my heart with kindness so that I speak kindness wherever I go.
Dr. Tony Evans is the founder and senior pastor of Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship in Dallas, founder and president of The Urban Alternative, and author of over 150 books, booklets, and Bible studies. The first African American to earn a doctorate of theology from Dallas Theological Seminary, he has been named one of the Twelve Most Effective Preachers in the English-Speaking World by Baylor University. Dr. Evans’s radio broadcast is heard on over 1,400 radio outlets daily, and his sermons are streamed and downloaded over twenty million times annually.
His new collection with DaySpring begins with 100 Days of Cultivating Kindness, a 100-day guide to becoming contagiously kind in order to change the world.
How do you change minds and attitudes?
How do you alter the perspectives and paradigms of others?
How do you make the world a better place?
It isn’t through violence, retaliation, or insisting on our own way. In fact, one of the strongest forces for changing lives is simple, free, and fulfilling: kindness.
In 100 Days of Cultivating Kindness, Dr. Tony Evans lays out a compelling case for being contagiously kind. Not only do we have the help of the Holy Spirit and the example of our Savior, but we have every reason to engage others with kindness based on the results that it provides. The truth is, kindness that catches on could turn our world upside down. Come discover the power and passion to be relentlessly kind — and see what happens next!
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