Colossians 3:12: “Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.“
The Holy Spirit wants to grow kindness in our lives and here we are told to ‘put it on’ to ‘wear it’. Perhaps kindness should be a pair of glasses that enable us to see past the annoying, irritating and ‘how they are getting it wrong’ characteristics of the person in front of us and really see them as someone who Jesus loves?
I am in a situation where I have to work with someone who I know has upset a significant number of colleagues. Many have left. I am not leaving but I often don’t agree with how things are done and I am struggling to forgive the past.So honestly, how am I to show kindness in this situation? I certainly don’t feel like being kind.
The story of Abigail, Nabal and David comes to mind. You’ll find it in 1 Samuel 25 and it goes something like this:
It is shearing time, when one could expect a wealthy man such as Nabal to act generously to those less well off. David and his 600 followers, still avoiding Saul’s wrath, are eking out a living in the countryside. He and his men have been camped near Nabal’s property thus giving protection to the sheep and shepherds.David sends Nabal a polite request for some modest provisions.
This is summarily refused with a few insults thrown in. David reacts badly. He sets out, with 400 men, to enact vengeance.A wise servant goes straight to Abigail, tells her what her husband has said and how much they had benefited from the presence of David and his company.
She quickly puts together a sumptuous and generous feast and sets out to meet David in order to beg his favour.David gratefully responds, praising God for his intervention, and preventing his taking his own vengeance.
The next day Abigail tells Nabal what might have happened and what did happen. Nabal suffers a stroke or a heart attack and dies within days.Word gets back to David and he asks Abigail to be his wife (well, one of his wives).
Abigail knew her husband but she did not know David. Her generous gift and plea for mercy literally stopped David in his tracks as he recognised God’s intervention.
Prayer of Response:
“Lord and Father, I keep finding resentment and anger in my heart. I give them to you and ask you to forgive me and to give me the ability to forgive others. Please give me those ‘spectacles of kindness’ so that I can see others as loved by you. Please show me where I can perform ‘transformational’ acts of kindness and generosity.”
—Submitted by Elaine Davis.
(Elaine lives with her husband, Neil in the UK and they frequently partner with their local church to go and support school students in Malawi.)