God’s Kindness

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It’s hard for me to wrap my brain around God being kind. He really doesn’t have to be. After all, He’s God. He doesn’t have a boss or a parent to report to. He certainly doesn’t need to explain His actions to us. Yet by His very nature He is kind. In case you’ve forgotten what it means to be kind; it means to be compassionate, considerate, courteous, gracious, thoughtful, gentle, sympathetic, understanding, patient, forbearing, loving, and hospitable. God is not an old man with a long white beard holding a club and ready to hit you every time you mess up. Nothing could be further from the truth. God is not mad at us. He’s not even in a bad mood. Jesus revealed what our Heavenly Father is like when he commanded us to, “… love your enemies, do good, and lend, hoping for nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High. For He is kind to the unthankful and evil. Therefore be merciful, just as your Father also is merciful( Luke 6:35-36 NKJV). Did you catch that? God is merciful and kind, even to ungrateful and evil people. The prophet Jeremiah described Him as “gracious and merciful, slow to anger, abundant in kindness(Jeremiah 9:17b NKJV). God told Jeremiah, “I am the LORD, who exercises kindness, justice and righteousness on earth, for in these I delight” (Jeremiah 9:24 NIV). God’s acts of kindness toward us are not random. They are very intentional.

There is a theological term called “Common Grace.” Theologian Louis Berkhof describes it this way, “…those general blessings, such as rain and sunshine, food and drink, clothing and shelter, which God imparts to all men indiscriminately where and in what measure it seems good to Him.” Jesus said it this way in Matthew 5:45, “…your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous” (NIV). Keith Mathison, a professor of systematic theology said, “In common grace, God gives good things to all men.  In special grace, God gives the very righteousness of Jesus Christ to His people.  Through common grace, God provides unmerited favor to all mankind for a time.  Through special grace, God provides unmerited favor to His people for all eternity.” In his letter to Titus the Apostle Paul describes God’s special grace this way, “Once we, too, were foolish and disobedient. We were misled and became slaves to many lusts and pleasures. Our lives were full of evil and envy, and we hated each other. But when God our Savior revealed his kindness and love, he saved us, not because of the righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He washed away our sins, giving us a new birth and new life through the Holy Spirit. He generously poured out the Spirit upon us through Jesus Christ our Savior. Because of his grace he declared us righteous and gave us confidence that we will inherit eternal life” (Titus 3:3-7 NLT).

A major way God reveals His kindness to us is through people. Real love is “patient and kind” (see 1 Corinthians 13:4). Believers are told to “Put on then (get dressed with), as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience” (Colossians 3:12 ESV). The Bible tells us that we do ourselves a favor when we are kind to others, “A man who is kind benefits himself, but a cruel man hurts himself” (Proverb 11:17 ESV). Being kind even makes you better looking! Proverb 19:22 says, “What is desired in a man is kindness,”(desired=object of desire). Kindness is a biblical beauty secret!

The psalmist David said, “Because Your lovingkindness is better than life, my lips shall praise You” (Psalm 63:3 NKJV). I feel the same way. God has been so kind to me, I can’t help but praise Him! He has showered me with kindness by giving me eternal life through His son Jesus Christ. He has shown me kindness by forgiving me of my sins. He has promised that He will never leave or forsake me. Through His kindness He has provided a wonderful wife, children, and grandchildren to me. His kindness has kept me safe and has truly been better than life itself.

God, by His very nature is kind. His kindness should manifest itself through us.

“Kindness is the language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see.”―Mark Twain

“Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you” (Ephesians 4:32 NIV).

No Questions Asked

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I’ve been watching a lot of British TV lately. One show my wife and I are getting hooked on is “Call the Midwife.” The series is about a group of midwives based in East London in the 1950s. Episode #3 is about a middle-aged couple named Ted and Winnie Lawson. At age 41, Winnie is expecting her 4th child. Ted is in his mid-50s and this will be his first child. He lost his first wife to cancer. Winnie’s first husband walked out leaving her alone with three children. Ted met her at a newsstand where she worked. They were married a year later. Winnie confesses to her nurses that she did not originally marry Ted for love, but for financial support. She is not at all happy about being pregnant. On the contrary, Ted is ecstatic! He buys lots of books about babies and prenatal care, but Winnie is not interested and wants no part of his books. She finally becomes so irritated with Ted, she screams, “Just leave me alone!” After seeing the rejection in his eyes she tells him, “I’m Sorry.” He gently answers her, “Nothing to apologize for.”           

Winnie goes into labor and two midwives arrive at her home. As her labor intensifies she insists that Ted leave the bedroom. The baby wants to come, but Winnie refuses to push him out. The midwives explain that she is putting the baby in serious danger and she must start pushing. Winnie cries out, “I can’t have this baby! I’m scared!”  The midwives try to comfort her, but she frantically cries, “You don’t understand! I’m scared it’s gonna’ be black!” With wisdom and understanding the nurse shouts back at her, “I don’t care if it’s green, red, or orange! Start pushing now!”

As Winnie feared, the baby is black. When the doctor arrives he is shocked to see a black baby born from a white woman. He secretly reveals his prejudice to the midwives as he sarcastically declares, “It’s a boy.” Winnie sees the baby and starts to cry knowing that her hidden sin is now revealed. The doctor frowns and awkwardly says,” I’ll go give your husband the good news.” Ted is found nervously waiting in the backyard when the doctor tells him, “It’s a boy.” Ted’s face lights up and he declares, “It’s a boy―my little boy.”

Back in the bedroom Winnie explains to the nurses that she didn’t realize how lucky she was to be married to Ted, and she felt trapped. One night she stayed out late drinking and had a “one night stand.” She was sure the baby would cause her to lose Ted’s love. (Keep in mind this was in England in the 50s). Ted enters the room happy and says excitedly, “A boy! You don’t know what this means to me!” His eyes meet Winnies eyes filled with tears. He looks at the baby, looks at her; then he looks back at the baby. His mind quickly analyses what has happened. He asks to hold the baby. Winnie hesitantly hands him the bundle. Everyone in the room is on pins and needles not knowing what Ted will do to the baby. He tenderly holds the tiny, black baby and just stares at him. The thick silence is finally broken when Ted softly says, “I don’t reckon to know much about babies―but I can see how this is the most beautiful baby in the world.” Everyone exhales with relief as he smiles and lovingly announces, “My son Ted.” 

A few scenes later, Ted is overjoyed as he pushes a baby carriage into the clinic proudly showing off his beautiful new son. The narrator is overheard saying, “Ted loves purely and completely and he asks no questions. And in the end, nor did anyone else.”

The Grace of God― “No questions asked.”

            “Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God!” 1 John 3:1 a NKJV.

            “God’s law was given so that all people could see how sinful they were. But as people sinned more and more, God’s wonderful grace became more abundant.” Romans 5:20 NLT.

            “He is so rich in kindness and grace that he purchased our freedom with the blood of his Son and forgave our sins.” Ephesians 1:7 NLT.

            “Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us” Hebrews 4:16 NIV.

            “This is real love—not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins.” 1 John 4:10 NLT.