Daily Devotion for March 15, 2021

Or do you think lightly of the riches of God’s kindness and restraint and patience, not knowing that the kindness of God leads you to repentance? Romans 2:4 NASB
Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you. Ephesians 4:22 ESV

Christmas of 1977, I left graduate school where I worked on a Masters in Criminal Justice in order to prepare to enter seminary in the next fall. I was working as the youth director at First UMC in Kenosha and living with senior pastor Dr. George Morris and family for housing. One morning as I went out to my car, which was parked on the street, I discovered that someone had broken, completely smashed out, my car window. I was devastated, what was I going to do? Every penny was being saved for my upcoming seminary tuition. But there was no choice, I needed a new window. I drove to an auto shop/glass shop, spoke to the owner and left my car there overnight. The next day a replacement window was installed. When I returned to the shop to pick up the car I asked for the bill fearing that it would take much of my hard earned savings. The shop owner just said, “No charge.” I was flabbergasted! “What? No charge? I don’t understand!! Thank you” He said, “I just do this sometimes, you are welcome.” As I remember and re-tell this story, tears still come as I give thanks for the kindness of God through this stranger at a time in my life where I was still trying to understand God’s grace and God’s call upon my life.
Kindness is part of the Boy Scout Law which I learned quite young. Kindness is one of the fruits of the Spirit shared in Galatians 5:22. Culturally we went through a period years ago when “random acts of kindness” were encouraged to help build up and care for our human community. I think kindness is undervalued as a spiritual value and gift. Yet, it is God’s kindness that moves and motivates us to faith and transformation. Kindness is a reflection of grace. Kindness is the outward manifestation of God’s love and grace (gift) toward us.  Kindness is reflected in God’s mercy and forgiveness freely offered to us and affirmed through the life, death and resurrection of Christ Jesus.
As we grow in our faithful discipleship, kindness should increase. We become less harsh and more generous in our care for others. I love the apostle Paul’s plea in Ephesians as he implores the Church to be kind and tenderhearted and forgiving. In these pandemic days we certainly need kindness. Even as we disagree about many things in the life of the church, we are still called to kindness and forgiveness of one another. I cannot help but think of the old Glen Campbell song with the refrain beginning: “You've got to try a little kindness; Yes, show a little kindness. Just shine your light for everyone to see!”  May the people of God let the light of kindness shine within our household, congregations and the world!
Gracious and most merciful God. Thank you for the love that you so richly display to us, guiding us along life’s pathways. As you show such kindness to us, lead us to deeper kindness in all of our relationships and encounters with people we meet. Through Christ. Amen.