“In a word, what I’m saying is, grow up. You’re kingdom subjects. Now live like it. Live out your God-created identity. Live generously and graciously toward others, the way God lives toward you.” (Matthew 5:48, The Message Bible)
I read an editorial yesterday by Vanessa Kerry, a medical doctor, professor at Harvard Medical School,
co-founder and CEO of Seed Global Health (a nonprofit that invests in building human health care capacity in resource-limited countries, to improve health for generations in resource-constrained settings), and the daughter of Senator John Kerry.
The article? “Make Kindness a Priority in Politics.” Yes, great is the need for kindhearted civility in today’s politics. Too many among us have succumbed to thinking God’s call to love our enemies applies to all of life but our politics.
Then I remember my sociology—our politics are but a reflection of our society. Yes, great is the need for kindhearted civility in today’s politics. And great is the need for such kindhearted civility in all of life.
I was deeply grieved to hear of brothers and sisters in Christ who were in a relationally broken place. One of the estranged reached out to the other for reconciliation, only to be rebuffed. Our politics are but a reflection in our mirror. Jesus knew the grave danger of this approach to life and one another. Jesus said, “You can’t get forgiveness from God, for instance, without also forgiving others. If you refuse to do your part, you cut yourself off from God’s part.” (Matthew 6:14-15, The Message Bible)
“Make Kindness a Priority …” Our nation and our world cries out for such kindness. And returning to the message from last weekend—what if the church could be God’s “First Responders.” “Make Kindness a Priority …” A priority with our family and friends, yes! But, also, a priority with those we disagree with, those who dislike us, those who are different from us.
May those who gather at the corner of Buffalo Road and Orchard Street be known for our kindness to one another, to our neighbor, to all. To look, live, and love like Jesus, we must remember His words: “You’re familiar with the old written law, “Love your friend,” and its unwritten companion, “Hate your enemy.” I’m challenging that. I’m telling you to love your enemies. Let them bring out the best in you, not the worst. When someone gives you a hard time, respond with the energies of prayer, for then you are working out of your true selves, your God-created selves. This is what God does. He gives his best—the sun to warm and the rain to nourish—to everyone, regardless: the good and bad, the nice and nasty. If all you do is love the lovable, do you expect a bonus? Anybody can do that. If you simply say hello to those who greet you, do you expect a medal? Any run-of-the-mill sinner does that.” (Matthew 5:43-47, The Message Bible)
Make Kindness a Priority…