I saw a really cool shirt at Target. My wife and I love to walk around Target, it’s a pretty simple date night (You just have to make a pact not to buy anything before walking in), and now that we have a nephew, we like to check out the kids’ section. Kids today have awesome style options to choose from, but in the girl area there was a shirt that simply said, “Kindness is cool.” What an awesome shirt! It’s kinda crazy to see shirts like that when we live in a culture in America that isn’t very kind. We get angry, often at things that aren’t that big of a deal, and we turn on each other. Normal people who go completely crazy, kind of like the stories that will inevitably come out of this coming Black Friday, or from being a secret werewolf. Okay, yes, that last comment makes no sense, but if you’ve ever played the card game, “One Night Werewolf,” you know just how not kind people can become. The game is played in complicated rules, but it boils down to two werewolves have to convince everyone else they aren’t and get some poor innocent players killed. I love this game, because immediately everyone tries to prove they aren’t the bad guy and throw everyone else under the bus. I highly recommend it for your next game night. What I’m trying to say in all of this, is we have gone far away from being kind, because we are all trying to appear better, and that often means putting someone else down to do it. We gotta change that; it’s what Jesus called us to.
Jesus built his ministry on one thing, perfect love. Love being an action. He was fully man and fully God, meaning that the trials he faced, he simply could have snapped his fingers and conquered the world with no one to stand in his way; yet he chose to give each of us a choice. Sacrificing himself and then raising from the dead, defeating sin, all to give us a choice to follow him. His disciples couldn’t fully understand this, Jesus was to be the savior victorious, they just missed the fact that he made the ultimate act of kindness, loving kindness. I don’t like bullies, yet our world is filled with bullies. Why? Our world doesn’t know the love of the savior, and we as believers don’t show others kindness. Kindness creates an open door for conversation. I’m a Christ follower and I don’t really like Christians that attack others. They’ve missed the point. It’s not about a war, Jesus already won that, it’s a pursuit of the heart. It’s about a deeper relationship with the savior. How can we be a witness if people can’t stand our hurtful behavior? I want us to change this stigma. Christ followers are called to be a light, yet we close the door and only share the light with those who don’t need it. It contradicts our calling. We all have one calling. To make believers. 1 John 4:12-13 says, “No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us. This is how we know that we live in him and he in us: He has given us of his spirit.” It’s time to be kind, and today, I’ll tell you why this is important.
Our actions direct people.
Everything we do is being watched. Especially in the age of social media, everything we do is seen and closely watched. Danielle and I from the very beginning of our relationship knew there were certain things we were not going to do until marriage. This allowed us to make wise choices and allow us to stay focused on our relationship with God first in all things. The crazy thing is, there have been several moments where students have told us that we set a good example on what a relationship should look like. Wow! This isn’t a pride boost, it’s an example of how our choices and our actions directed people we didn’t even know were watching us. Are we perfect? Absolutely not, but we choose to try our best and make the wise choice in life. If I just acted perfect on Sunday, and the rest of the week decided to live counter to what God has called me into, people would see that. This is important for all of us to remember. We are setting an example, so if you say one thing in your Sunday best, and on your Monday worst, choose to tear others down, what kind of picture are you giving of God? Even in writing this blog, there have been moments where I was unsure if I said something harsh out of anger or my own hurt, and had my family look over to make sure I am leading the right way. People are watching, and they are looking to see the nature of God in your actions, so use your actions to direct people into freedom through your loving kindness.
The spirit gives us a heart check.
In my Christian school, this was a phrase that lost meaning to me. “Check your heart.” I used to pass it off as Christian lingo, but if you actually think about it, it’s a good thing the Holy Spirit uses to check our actions. The Holy Spirit comes to each of us when we make a choice to enter a relationship, and allows us to check ourselves. Our actions don’t just happen, they are an outpouring of our heart. If we are angry all the time, something I’ve struggled with a lot, the chances are pretty high that you haven’t been coming to God. If we cut others down in God’s name, are we actually following what he has called us to? Probably not.
And that can be a hard pill to swallow.
Good self-checks of your heart are: Am I having a daily quiet time? Reading, praying, and having a moment to worship? Do I just make choices that I want, or have I asked God to lead me? Am I trusting my own power, or am I freely giving my future in the hands of my creator? It’s time to make a heart check, because it’s hard to be kind when we haven’t allowed God full control of our heart.
This week is a big opportunity for you. Thanksgiving meals are happening, which means family and friend gatherings. There will be people who don’t believe the same thing as you. There are going to be crazy family members you question you are actually related to them. There will be people whose views you vehemently oppose. There will be lost, lonely, and low people. All of them need you, or more appropriately, all of them need the one who saved you. No one is better than another, we are all God’s children. God goes after the one, he doesn’t worry about the heard who is already saved. You have an opportunity to be kind, and that kindness will allow you to open the door for a life changing conversation. So, you have a choice, use your actions and check your heart as you enter this moment, and do what God has called you to do.