Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.
In yesterday’s Life for Leaders devotion, we began to take stock of our lives based on Ephesians 4:31-32. The first verse of this passage mentions several attitudes or behaviors that we need to get rid of as new people in Christ. I suggested that you might use this short list of negatives to examine your own life and see where you might want to change your way of living.
Today, we begin to examine an even shorter list of positives in Ephesians 4:32: “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” I’d like to focus on that first quality in today’s devotion: kindness. Ephesians 4:32 says “Be kind.” Are you?
Kindness involves doing good things for others, especially in situations when others are unworthy or unable to reciprocate. If you do good because you owe someone or because you might get something in return, that’s not really kindness. God’s kindness, for example, can be seen in the fact that he is good “to the ungrateful and wicked” (Luke 6:35). Earlier in Ephesians, we saw that God’s kindness is an expression of his incomparably rich grace (Ephesians 2:7). You think of kindness as a tangible expression of grace.
So then, are you kind? Do you do good things for the people in your life, not only because it’s expected of you, but “just because”? Do you think of ways you can serve and encourage your co-workers? Spouse? Family members? Friends? Neighbors? Even people you don’t know? When somebody you supervise at work messes up, do you treat that person kindly, dealing with the problem in a way that doesn’t strip away that person’s dignity? Do you treat kindly those whom our culture undervalues?
In next Monday’s devotion I’ll share a story of unexpected kindness. For now, let me encourage you to consider the following questions:
Something to Think About:
Use the questions I’ve suggested above to help you take stock of your kindness (or lack thereof).
Something to Do:
Ask the Spirit of God to show you what is true about yourself when it comes to expressions of kindness. Confess your sin if that is needed. Invite the Lord to help you show kindness today to someone who needs it.
Gracious God, thank you for your kindness. Thank you for all the ways you have revealed your grace to me through kind actions.
Help me, Lord, to be like you in the way I treat others. Inspire me with new ways to be kind to those around me. Help me to be kind to all the people in my life, to my family members and coworkers, to my neighbors and church members, to restaurant servers and to cashiers. May my life be a demonstration of your grace alive in me. Amen.