It’s not so hard to be nice to the nice. It’s not so hard to dish back at people who give you guff. It’s not so hard to go through life guarded and suspicious, assuming the worst in people. It’s much harder to go first.
One of the unmistakable evidences that the Spirit of the Lord is living in people’s hearts is that they treat other people better than they deserve: “The fruit of the Spirit is . . . kindness” (Galatians 5:22). Kindness is not payback; it’s not treating others exactly as they deserve. In fact, it’s just the opposite—it means extending yourself, being willing to give something of yourself away, taking the risk that your gift may be ignored or rebuffed.
Kindness means that you don’t take out your bad day on the people who live with you. Kindness means you stay patient with a crabby customer and keep smiling. Kindness means that you don’t keep score with your spouse. Kindness means that you choose not to hear some things and let them whiz past you. Kind people show kindness for its own sake, not as a preliminary maneuver to get something from somebody else.
Kind people are above-average aware of how kind God has been to them. Christ went first, essentially fronting us grace, mercy, and forgiveness, knowing we could never afford to earn it ourselves. What a joy to thank our kind Savior by showing kindness to the fools and sinners around us.
Who needs your mercy today?