“Show me unfailing kindness like the LORD’s kindness as long as I live.” (1 Samuel 20:14)
For a moment think about how you act toward the people around you day in and day out.
There are some of those interactions which are probably rather passing and impersonal. Some interactions might be as minimal as possible, perhaps due to past interactions which have not exactly been the most pleasant. There are also interactions which you look forward to and would probably like to have more of. Those are the interactions which are often brimming over with joy and kindness and you hope that they linger and last as long as possible.
For a moment I’d like you to consider every single interaction you have with people and put it through the filter of the WWJD (What Would Jesus Do?) test. Think for a moment of the many people which Jesus had interactions with as recorded on the pages of the Bible. There are a fair number of those people who were less than kind to Jesus and how did he react toward them? He turned the other cheek. He “killed them with kindness." He showed them love when they were far from loving to him.
Perhaps this is getting a little uncomfortable reading at this point because you realize the people that you have repaid their anger or coldness with the same anger or coldness. Maybe you can recount situations where you had an opportunity to show kindness and you suddenly became very impersonal, because you reasoned in your mind “they don’t deserve kindness or love."
I’d like you to consider two thoughts in regard to this whole matter.
First of all – think if God acted toward us the very same way we acted toward him and others. You quickly realize that you’d rarely receive any kindness because of how often we are short, cruel or heartless toward others. Thank God that he doesn’t treat us as our sins and lack of kindness deserve, but instead each day he showers us with an abundance of his kindness in so many ways!
Secondly, and perhaps more importantly. Might you showing someone “kindness like the LORD’s kindness” be the one and only opportunity they have to see or experience Christian kindness? Might an interaction with you be the one opportunity they have to see a living sermon on Christian kindness? Jesus reminds us of this when he said “Let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” (Matthew 5:16).
The situation in which our verse for this week was spoken demonstrates what we just said above. Jonathan demonstrated “kindness like the LORD’s kindness” toward David as Jonathan’s father, Saul, was trying to kill David. Jonathan had one simple request of David in return – the words of our verse for this week. Jonathan was putting his life on the line as he tried to protect David, but he didn’t care because he wanted to show “kindness like the LORD’s kindness”. How would you have reacted in such a situation?
None of this is meant to give you a guilt trip or drag you down. It is intended to help you see an area where you might be able to grow in practicing your Christian faith. Perhaps it gives you something to pray about or an area to focus on in your devotional life and/or Bible reading.
Every one of us has areas where we can grow in our exercise of our Christian faith. God bless you as you strive to show “kindness like the LORD’s kindness”!
Posted by Joel Gaertner
Rev. Joel Gaertner is The Lutheran Home Association Vice President of Ministry and National Director of Jesus Cares Ministries (JCM). He provides spiritual guidance to our entire organization and develops and guides JCM programs in congregations. Pastor Gaertner and his wife, LuAnn, live in Cudahy, Wis., and have two adult children. Outside work, he enjoys golf, walking and watching just about any sporting event, especially the Green Bay Packers.