Imagine being kind towards someone who has hurt you badly, done you wrong, or bruised your ego. The parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10: 25-37) comes to mind. The Samaritans were not just outcasts and viewed as half-breeds, they were the despised enemies of the Jews, yet in the parable that Jesus told, it was the Samaritan who showed the victim mercy and compassion. Jesus’ choice of the Samaritan as the neighbour in the parable was even more significant because in Luke 9:53, a Samaritan village had refused to receive Jesus. Jesus had an opportunity to get even and to make the Samaritan the villain or the antagonist in the parable, but He did not.
It is not always easy to be kind. In fact, it is an intentional choice. I share three thoughts in this reflection. First, in choosing kindness, I am acknowledging that I need God’s supernatural intervention in my life for me to manifest biblical kindness. Galatians 5:22-23 (ESV) records: “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.” The Holy Spirit is at work, sanctifying your life and mine to progressively rid our lives of our old selves and sin which so ensnares us. It is a journey and sometimes a painful process to allow the Holy Spirit to shape and mould us to become more Christ-like.
Second, in choosing kindness, I am placing a greater value on relationships over my own rights. For twenty shekels of silver, Joseph’s brothers sold Joseph to the Ishmaelites who brought him to Egypt as a slave. By God’s design and in line with God’s will, Joseph rose through the ranks and became the second most powerful person in Egypt, after the Pharaoh. In a strange twist of circumstances, due to severe famine in the land of Canaan, Joseph’s brothers travelled all the way to Egypt to buy grain from the very one whom they sold into slavery years ago. Given how his brothers had plotted his death and how he had suffered in their hands, this appeared to be an opportune time for sweet revenge for Joseph. Joseph could have focused on his rights to retaliate, to seek justice for past wrongdoing, and to publicly humiliate his brothers, especially when he had the power and influence to do so. Instead, Joseph responded, “… I am your brother, Joseph, whom you sold into Egypt. And now do not be distressed or angry with yourselves because you sold me here, for God sent me before you to preserve life.” (Genesis 45:4-5, ESV)
Finally, in choosing kindness, I recognise that kindness does not discriminate. I am still learning Jesus’ high calling when He stated, “But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, for he is kind to the ungrateful and the evil.” (Luke 6:35, ESV) Perhaps part of the struggle lies in me pre-judging who ought to be recipients of kindness, and underlying that is the unspoken thought that some people may not deserve kindness. However, I am reminded that Jesus died on the cross for my sins, and so lavishly poured out His lovingkindness towards me. I am as undeserving of God’s kindness as is my fellow brother or sister.
By Sister Rebecca Ang (YCKC Bulletin 23 August 2020)