Kindness = Tolerance?

December 13, 2011

“I heard the bells on Christmas day/The old familiar carols play/And wild and sweet the words repeat/Of peace on Earth goodwill to men.”

I thought since we are coming up on Christmas I would start out with a line from a pretty popular Christmas song. It got me thinking though, about how much we really see the last line happening. How often do we hear about peace on Earth and goodwill to men.

I’m not even referring to all the fighting that happens in third world countries, or making a reference to Iraq or Afghanistan. For just a few minutes I want to focus on the recent events of Black Friday.

I choose to not go shopping the day after Thanksgiving. At least I choose to not go when everyone else goes. I travel out later in the day when I can still find some pretty good deals without running into a whole lot of people.

But there are those who do go out, and all too often it turns into chaos! There are reports of people being trampled by each other. Sometimes fights break out because there is only one item left on sale. Each shopper only cares about themselves and making sure they do whatever is possible to get the best deal. There is no concern for the well-being of others, only ourselves.

When we live with greed or anger in our hearts, goodwill toward men, or kindness does not flow from us. We are only concerned with “looking out for number one.”

This should not be! “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness…” That’s right! Kindness is on the list.

So what is kindness? It is includes acting benevolently or for the benefit of others. Kindness is looking after someone else before yourself.

This would mean (I’m going to pick on Black Friday again) sometimes not getting the absolute best deal because it would mean having to spray mace in someone’s face in order to get to it.

It might mean taking someone in because the situation they are currently living would only harm them.

It could mean going up to someone you have been at odds with for years and apologizing and letting them know you will be acting differently now (and sticking to it).

I don’t think I would put kindness in the same boat at tolerance though. Tolerance sounds like a good idea until someone’s soul is on the line. As Christians we wish for everyone to be saved. We want all to come into the faith so they can be freed from sin and walk in newness of life.

We should live like that is what we desire. That means standing up against wrong behavior, especially in the Church. It is not okay for us to act like everything is fine when people are living in sin and claim to be a part of the Church. We need to address that for the sake of their salvation as well as the reputation of the Church.

It is okay, in fact it it good, for us to talk about our convictions with those who believe differently. How else will they hear about beliefs that are not their own? Romans 10:14 raises these questions: “How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them?”

See keeping quiet about our beliefs may be the tolerant thing to do but it is not kind. As I mentioned before kindness includes concern for the well-being of others. The ultimate well-being we should concern ourselves with, is the well-being of someone’s soul.

What good is it if we take care of someone’s physical needs but never tell them of Jesus? As we take care of the physical we should be proclaiming Christ.

Do not be afraid to be kind. Let kindness pour freely from your heart. And let that kindness include reaching out to a lost world so that one more may be saved.

How have you been showing kindness to others?


5 Responses to “Kindness = Tolerance?”

  1. […] Galatians 5:22 goes like this, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness…” In order for us to find a proper understanding of goodness there must be a […]

  2. […] we are looking at faithfulness. “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,” we have finally reached the end of Galatians […]

  3. […] 22 as well, just as a refresher. “But the fruit of the Spirit are love, joy, peace, patience, kindness goodness, faithfulness, […]

  4. […] Fruit. If you have missed the others you can click on their names here: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, and gentleness. It has been a great refresher for me, and I hope it has […]

  5. […] Kindness = Tolerance? December 13 […]

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