One word has been rolling around in my brain for weeks maybe months. The word is Kindness. I haven't been able to identify why or to whom but just the idea of Kindness. I did know that this was for me, not anyone else but for me to be extending Kindness.
It would be easy for me to chock this up to a need of the Cambodian people. It is easy to point the finger to a country that was not shaped by Judeo/Christian ethical standards. Kindness is one of the things you see lacking here. Children are not taught to share, wait in lines, or let the another go first...and then they grow up and start driving. : ) I digress...
This word is for me...so I finally sat down and did a brief Biblical word study. One of my favorite ways to tiptoe through Scripture. Did you know that Kindness is all over the Bible? It is such a common word but packed with meaning. At first you may want to lump it into compassion, and while similar, compassion I believe is directed more towards someone in need. I feel like compassion could come and go as circumstances change. Kindness seems to be steady, a way to treat all people in all circumstances.
I like to think of myself as a kind person...but maybe I am just compassionate. My heart goes out to people, especially people in need and I want to help alleviate their pain and suffering. When a disaster hits somewhere in the world...my first thought is how can I help...I want to be on the ground providing aide of any sort.
But what about Kindness?
I am not kind, especially in my heart or head when I feel mistreated or undervalued. I don't often give the benefit of the doubt. I am not kind when someone here in Cambodia cuts me off in traffic. My first thought may be about their safety, but it quickly digresses. Oh the list is long...
In Scripture Kindness in linked with repentance and justice. (Hosea 12:6). In Romans we learn that it is God's Kindness that leads to repentance. The original Hebrew/Greek word is also translated into favor, good, lovingkindness, mercy, loyalty etc...
"So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience;..." Col 3:12 Paul is exhorting fellow believers to embrace Christ, who is our life, and allow Him to change us and work through us. He talks about putting on the new and leaving the old behind. Part of the new is Kindness.
I can't muster up Kindness...it's a fruit of the Spirit. It doesn't come from me what comes from me isn't pretty. If Kindness is linked with justice, compassion and repentance I need to pay attention. If it's God's kindness that draws people to Him, wouldn't it be like Him to want to show Kindness through me in order to draw people to Himself?
Kindness is important...I believe that when it is shown people respond. When you are offered Kindness you notice, you stop, you think, you wonder. I suppose in the midst of busy lives we can miss Kindness offered...but we can never truly miss the ramifications of Kindness. Anger averted, harsh words not spoken, fists unclenched, voices silenced, smiles offered, hands extended, understanding, hugs given, love exchanged. Isn't that like God to use such a common word/idea for transformation. I believe that Kindness opens doors and hearts.
I want to be a vehicle for the Kindness of Jesus (fruit of the Spirit) to flow through me and splash onto others! As I introduce others to their Creator, I want them to know His Kindness, to repent and to follow Him. Lord Jesus may you draw many unto Yourself here in Cambodia!!!