Read an interesting article about kindness today. It was anonymous, so I cannot attribute it, but thought it was worth quoting.
It's been great to see all the posts today for #WorldKindnessDay. It got me thinking about what it means to be kind. I think there are a few myths out there about this concept, and I wanted to address them.
Myth #1: Kindness is weak.
Kindness is NOT weak. In fact, it takes courage to show kindness. It takes strength. It takes setting aside what's easy for what's valuable. Being kind requires strength of character.
Myth #2: Kindness is the same as being nice.
Kindness is NOT just being nice. Being nice is one aspect of kindness, but that's not the end of it. Kindness is about making decisions that result in healthy relationships. It's about giving your time, your attention, your caring heart, your extra efforts, your helping hand, your selfless actions to lift up others.
Myth #3: Kindness is a feeling.
Kindness is NOT just a feeling, it's a choice. It's a behavior. You're not going to like everyone you meet. You're probably not always going to feel like being kind to them. But you can choose to treat everyone you meet with all the care and concern of people you do like.
The more you practice being kind, the easier it is to demonstrate this behavior consistently. It becomes a habit. It becomes who you are, and you don't even hesitate to act in kind ways.
The article concludes with two quotes:
"You have never really lived until you have done something for someone who can never repay you."
"You can never do a kindness too soon, for you never know how soon it will be too late." -Ralph Waldo Emerson
Given that Love is… kind (1 Corinthians 13 v 4), I would expect kindness to be one of the attributes visible in any church. When I read through the reports given in these pages, I do not however find much kindness being demonstrated by those in Struthers. What I see is about fifty people who are pretty unhappy that they have not been treated kindly - with no resultant action or apology from the leadership, just an arrogant proclamation that they are somehow so much better than others that they don't need to be kind.
Seriously, read over point 2 again - "Kindness is about making decisions that result in healthy relationships. It's about giving your time, your attention, your caring heart, your extra efforts, your helping hand, your selfless actions to lift up others."
If that is what "the world" aspires to, should the church not be even better - demonstrating this as a core part of their beliefs and practices?
Oh, and a final two-way test.
1) are the actions of the leaders kind - do you see this in practice in these pages and in how they treat you?
2) do the leaders make it clear that they expect you to be kind to them?
If the answer to (1) is yes, and the answer to (2) is no, you have a church that is living out the gospel.
On the other hand, if the answer to (1) is no and the answer to (2) is yes, you have a set of self-serving leaders that are very far from Christ.