[1 Corinthians 13:1-4]
“If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing. Love is patient, love is kind.”
TRUTH TO BELIEVE:
And from far away the Lord appeared to his people and said,
“I love you people
with a love that will last forever.
That is why I have continued
showing you kindness.
People of Israel, I will build you up again,
and you will be rebuilt.
You will pick up your tambourines again
and dance with those who are joyful. Jeremiah 31:3-4, NCV
For most of us the terms kind and nice are synonymous. Not so my friends.
Synonyms of nice as found at dictionary.com:
friendly, delicate, exact, exacting, critical, scrupulous, discriminating, discerning, particular, polite
Synonyms of kind as found at dictionary.com:
mild, benign, benignant, gentle, tender, compassionate. Kind, gracious, kindhearted, kindly imply a sympathetic attitude toward others, and a willingness to do good or give pleasure.
While I can appear nice by simply being polite, kindness requires action. Kindness is love in action. The love we are speaking about in 1 Corinthians 13 is actually agape love. It is the self-giving divine love that comes from God and is reflected in his children. Agape love when shared with others is not merely felt, but it is actively shared.
In the JB Phillips translation of this passage the word kind isn’t even used. Instead it says, “Love works for a way of being constructive.” Love isn’t passive. I know I can wish all sort of supportive thoughts towards children around the world who don’t have enough to eat, but if I’m not willing to DO something then I’m not really loving them. I’m thinking nice thoughts and hoping someone else will love them. Your neighbor is lonely. There’s a family in your church struggling to keep food on the table. Your pastor needs encouragement. The cashier needs you to do more than smile at them. Make room for kindness.
HOPE TO CLAIM:
How could we possibly know how to live this out? The example seems fairly clear.
“This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers. If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him? Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth.” 1 John 3:16-18
CHALLENGE TO EMBRACE:
-Clothe yourself as you go out each day by posting this reminder on your mirror.
“So, chosen by God for this new life of love, dress in the wardrobe God picked out for you: compassion, kindness, humility, quiet strength, discipline. Be even-tempered, content with second place, quick to forgive an offense. Forgive as quickly and completely as the Master forgave you. And regardless of what else you put on, wear love. It’s your basic, all-purpose garment. Never be without it.” Col. 3:12-14, MSG
-Consider actively loving someone outside of your family circle this year. GIVE love.
Love is a choice to invest. Love is KIND.
Advent Resource: Behold the Lamb of God by Andrew Peterson. This is not a traditional Christmas album. This is an album about the who God saw the brokenness of humanity and then resolved to heal. This is the story of the Incarnation. Listen. Purchase.