There once was a school that had but one rule. (Oh, what a wonderful place that would be!) It is now known as Washington and Lee University and Robert E. Lee was at one time the headmaster of this institution. During his tenure the story is told that only one rule was enforced.
It was simply: Be kind.
This world of sinners can be a cruel place to live. Churches full of sinners are often no less cruel. Meanness abounds. Because of this, it is always refreshing when you cross paths with someone who exhibits true kindness.
Kindness is not a sentiment. It is an action. It is the action of our loving Father and it should be the action of all of His children.
“And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you” (Ephesians 4:32).
- Kindness is the opposite of meanness. We all have a “mean streak.” It is called sin nature. We want our way. Selfishness and “one another” living cannot coexist in the same home.
- Kindness is rooted in tenderness. Soft hearts can make a great difference in a hard world. A kind word. A tender tone. They do not begin in the tongue, but in the heart…”tenderhearted.”
- Kindness is demonstrated most in our response to others who have done us wrong. “Forgiving one another.” It is not kindness to be kind when others are kind to us. That is just common courtesy. It is kindness to treat others lovingly when we have been treated hatefully.
- Kindness is a characteristic that makes us most like our Lord. “Even as God.” Only God is our example and only God can enable us to act and react kindly.
Of all the truth in this one little verse, I believe the greatest is to be found in the words, “for Christ’s sake.” Here lies the open secret to real kindness. We all want to be kind. How many times I have scolded myself for not having reacted as a Christian? But, how? There is only one way. We must not look at others. All eyes must be on Jesus.
I should not treat others kindly because they deserve it. At some point, I will reason that they do not deserve it! I should treat others with kindness because that is what Jesus would do. No, that is what Jesus has done. He has treated me with kindness when I did not deserve it.
Look at the cross of Christ and your heart will be tender. Listen to the kindness of the Saviour in the middle of His mistreatment and you will know how to respond.
“Be ye kind.” Ye means me. What a difference could be made by kind people in a mean world! Somewhere today you and I will cross paths with some hurting person, some wounded soul. May they see and hear the kindness of Christ in us.