Posts Tagged kind

Ouch!!

Psalm 15: 1 – 5                    Passion Translation

Lord, who dares to dwell with you?
Who presumes the privilege of being close to you,
living next to you in your shining place of glory?
Who are those who daily dwell in the life of the Holy Spirit?

2 They are passionate and wholehearted,
always sincere and always speaking the truth—
for their hearts are trustworthy.

3 They refuse to slander or insult others;
they’ll never listen to gossip or rumors,
nor would they ever harm another with their words.

4 They will speak out passionately against evil and evil workers
while commending the faithful ones who follow after the truth.
They make firm commitments and follow through,
even at great cost.

5 They never crush others with exploitation or abuse
and they would never be bought with a bribe
against the innocent.
They will never be shaken; they will stand firm forever.

The NASB version begins, “O Lord, who may abide in Your tent?” Then David goes on to answer the question. I have another answer, “Not me.” Though I clearly fail this test, it inspires me. David certainly had a clear standard for what is required to live with the Holy One. I particularly dislike verse three for I found I have not yet bridled my tongue. How about you? Don’t many of us trip up over that one?

There is only one caveat I would make to David’s song. While I strongly agree with speaking out passionately against evil, I do think there is a New Testament augmentation to speaking out against evil workers. The reason I say this is because, in a sense, there is no longer a chosen class and a gentile class. All have the ability to be adopted into the family now and our task is to pray for those who persecute us. I find this to be the most challenging part of the passage because although we are idealists, we are also called to be compassionate messengers of the Good News. You might have to ponder this a bit. See where you land. Personally, I get uncomfortable pointing my finger at “evil workers” or “sinners” because I am so aware of how I trample the ideals articulated in this song.

My prayer is that we might all aspire to live this life and that we pray for each other as we reach for higher ground. Moreover, it is my desire that we learn how to lift people up to the beauty that is Jesus rather than wallow around in the mire like so many mud wrestlers. Lifting our eyes up to Jesus, may we each reach a little bit beyond yesterday.

The Gold Star Standard

Lamentations 3: 22 – 23

The Lord’s lovingkindnesses indeed never cease, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is Thy faithfulness.

I hear so much junk about God and I know you do too. Here is a true introduction to our God. He is faithful to forgive, to respond compassionately to our shortcomings, failures and misguided adventures and His love for us never ceases. This is our God and Father.

Our Father is a good God. He always causes good things to happen for us. It is beyond sound reasoning for people to have construed Yahweh as an angry God or one who heaps misfortune and challenge upon us for any reason. God is love. Period. Everything He does is motivated by love. God sent His son to earth to suffer and die for us. You know that, but what are the implications of this truth? Did he allow Jesus to be bruised for us; to carry our diseases and sicknesses just so He could turn around and give us cancer? That just does not make any sense. It is crazy thinking. If His compassions never fail, then why would He send (or allow) troubles and misfortune into our lives? If He sent His son to redeem all humanity so that none should perish, then why would He make it hard to get into heaven? He sent Jesus exactly so that we could get into heaven. God isn’t trying to keep us out, He is trying to get us in.

So, what is the point to this? You will see and hear, both in the world and in the church, comments which portray God as angry and vengeful. You will hear comments which deny God’s inherent goodness. People actually believe the things they say even though it is complete lunacy. The devil has done a good job in his characterization of God and, unfortunately, we have not done a very good job in our portrayal of God as a loving and compassionate being. The point of this is to put God’s lovingkindness in the forefront of your mind. When you hear things which fly in the face of this truth, you need to refute them, at least in your own mind. If you want to go for the gold star, refute them to those misled speakers. Keep this verse in your pocket and its kinfolk as well because there are many verses which proclaim God’s love and goodness towards His people. Most of all, don’t fall for this foolishness. Your Father loves you more than you can fathom and wants only good for you.

The Simple Truth

Proverbs 19:22

What is desirable in a man is his kindness, and it Is better to be a poor man than a liar.

I appreciate when God is very clear about what He wants in and from us and this verse certainly meets that litmus test. Obviously there are two parts to this. First, kindness is a premium value in God’s heart. We saw from our study of 1 Corinthians 13 that one of God’s characteristics is that He is kind. He wants us to be people of kindness too. Maybe He even expects it of us.

Kindness is one of those things which can be demonstrated in many ways. Often, kindness is found in the small matters. I think of it as preferring others’ comfort. Some people seem to have a talent for doing the small things that just make you feel better. Others of us are going to have to be purposeful about kindness. Sometimes kindness is found in the way we speak to others and well as the way we behave. The thing we can do is to ask our Father to teach us about His kindness and then be sensitive to how He leads us.

The second part of this verse really amazes me. One might expect that this is a message which never need be spoken and yet I am continually amazed at how Christians will bend the truth, avoid the truth, deceive, mislead and even outright lie. If you looked up the things God hates last week then you know that two of them are liars (Proverb 6: 16 – 19). With that staring at us, how can we still play around with this. God tells us it is better to be poor than a liar, this coming from a guy who paves His driveway with gold. Jesus told us that lies and lying are of the devil (John 8: 44) so we must do whatever is necessary to walk in the truth.

Do you think it odd that these two ideas are contained in the same sentence? It is as if God says to us that we cannot accomplish the first directive, to be kind, without first abolishing lies from our lives. And here is a news flash, just in case you didn’t know, many times, most times probably, people know when you are lying to them. They may not say anything to you (probably because they are exercising kindness) but they know. Think of that the next time you are tempted to lie. Just think, “This person is going to know that I am lying to them”. If that does not help you restrain yourself, then we need to have another discussion and that one will also involve the word kindness.

Because we truly love our Father, we want to please Him. Well, today’s verse is a prescription for doing just that. Honor others around you by telling them the truth and being kind. Remember, you do not have to do it on your own. Your Dad is happy to help you.

God is . . . kind

1 Corinthians 13: 4

Love is patient, love is kind.

Kindness is a consistent theme all through the Bible. God has continually shown His kindness to mankind. In the 25th Psalm David wrote, “Remember, O Lord, Your compassion and Your lovingkindnesses, For they have been from of old” (v. 6). David recognized and proclaimed that the kindness of God has been ever present. He has a heart of compassion towards us in all of life’s situations. There is never a moment in our lives, has never been a minute in all of history when the Lord’s thoughts towards us have not been thoughts of kind compassion.

What does the word “kind” bring to your mind? One observation from my dictionary is that it takes many words to describe kindness: 1. Of a friendly nature; generous or hospitable; warmhearted; good. 2. Charitable; helpful; showing sympathy or understanding. 3. Humane; considerate. 4. Forbearing; tolerant; charitable. 5. Courteous; thoughtful. It goes on but one other description included is that kindness shows a desire to promote others’ welfare.

Our Father is all of these things. I especially like the idea that His intent is to promote our welfare. If you really want to get the big picture of God’s kindness, run a thesaurus on each of the words from the dictionary. Already we see that kindness involves being aware of other people and their needs. God didn’t call us to Himself so that we could meet His needs. He calls us to Him so that He can care and provide for us. He is gentle and generous. He is tolerant rather than critical. Psalm 25: 10 reads, “All the paths of the lord are lovingkindness and truth to those who keep His covenant and His testimonies.” All that He thinks, all that He does is bathed in kindness.

Knowing God’s essential traits will help you to relate to Him better. I hope it will also cause you to trust Him at a deeper level. He is safe. He is kind.