989-662-6314 office@auburnumc.org

Read: Galatians 5:19-23

19 Now the works of the flesh are obvious: fornication, impurity, licentiousness,20 idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, anger, quarrels, dissensions, factions, 21 envy, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these. I am warning you, as I warned you before: those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. 22 By contrast, the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against such things.

Does it surprise you that kindness is on this list? Isn’t kindness just another name for love? Perhaps. What is it about kindness that distinguishes it from other forms of love? What is unique about kindness? Think about the kindest person you know. What is it about that person that earns them that description? Was it that their kindness was unexpected or unmerited? Kindness often exceeds our expectations. Kind people often earn that reputation by stepping forward when we didn’t expect it (or even deserve it) and express a love that steers the moment and the relationship. Kindness is winsome and disarming that way. Kindness connects to the human heart, it has empathy; it is an expression of grace. Kindness typically takes us beyond the expectations of reciprocity.

Years ago there was a movement to “practice random acts of kindness”. It was a clever response to so many “random acts of violence” that the news media was reporting that the phrase was stuck in people’s minds; the exact phrase was, “random acts of violence and senseless acts of cruelty”. But a woman named Anne Herbert turned it upside down. On a restaurant placemat she wrote her inspiration, “practice random acts of kindness and senseless acts of beauty.” It set off the movement. I am grateful for Anne Herbert’s effort to redeem the social discourse and uplift humanity to a better state; she wrote a book about it.

Most Christians believe that the Holy Spirit prompts, nudges, directs and inspires us to act on behalf of the Kingdom of God. “Random acts of kindness” may seem like a fun and intriguing idea, but it’s also just the sort of thing that the Holy Spirit can use for Christ’s sake, and for the benefit of all.

Shalom,

Pastor Rob Nystrom