There may be none on this list I struggle with more than being kind. You’d probably expect that it’s external forces that I blame for this. The truth is that the great struggle comes almost entirely from within. First… from within me. Then… from within my family. Let me explain. This should help you understand why I chose the graphic I did, as well. First the me part. I am full of selfishness. Sure, I fight it. Sure, there are moments of victory. But it is this same selfishness that is responsible for my unkindness. I say stupid things. Things I don’t mean. Things I always wish I could take back. Thankfully, in all of this, there is also hope because I’ve learned to ask forgiveness and repent (a topic for another post). Second… this unkindness is most evident within my family. What? But you’re a pastor. How is that possible? Here’s my theory. Especially those of us who are second, third or more generation Christians, we have been taught to “be kind” externally. And, so, we are. We smile and nod… even when we don’t mean it. But then we come home. We drop the niceties and our true selves come out. Again, this is why I say (as I have elsewhere), that the hardest place (besides Wal*Mart) to be a Christian is in the home.
That’s probably way more honesty than you were expecting (or even seeking). So beyond the fact that kindness is an evidence that the Spirit of God resides within us, why should we strive for kindness in every circumstance? I believe that the strongest argument is a theological one. Of all the things that could be said about repentance as it relates to salvation, I am most blown away by this text from Romans 2:4, “…do you presume on the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance?” Not His wrath? Wow!
It is this kindness that draws me, while encouragingly confronting my unkindness. I am committing anew to practice kindness always… but especially where it is most difficult for me to do so… with those I love most… in my home.