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What is Kindness?
Kindness gets a bad rap – it is the pat Sunday school answer… But it is a powerful force.
“the art of being a dear” – Lord Hailsham
Doing compassionate good deeds without expecting return. Going the extra mile... – tangible acts of love.
Do you have stories of kindness? - tell your neighbour about a time when you experienced kindness.
“Do unto others as You would have them do unto you,” is a command to be kind.
Scriptures speak of God’s kindness
Isaiah 63 – Hymn of praise
I will tell of the kindnesses of the LORD,
the deeds for which he is to be praised,
according to all the LORD has done for us—
yes, the many good things he has done
for the house of Israel,
according to his compassion and many kindnesses.
He said, "Surely they are my people,
children who will be true to me";
and so he became their Savior.
In all their distress he too was distressed,
and the angel of his presence saved them.
In his love and mercy he redeemed them;
he lifted them up and carried them
all the days of old.
– Graham Cooke says “He is the kindest person I know.”
How do you know God’s kindness? – ask congregation
But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:8 – he went to the cross without guarantee of a positive response from the people he loved – this is ultimate kindness to me.
How does the Holy Spirit grow Kindness in us?
Jean Valjean – responds to the Bishop’s kindness with kindness to his workers, his town & even his pursuer.
Jean Valjean – imprisoned as a boy for stealing bread – because of attempted escapes, 20 years before he is released – he has been brutalized into a wild criminal by the prison.
He is on permanent parole – by law he must show everyone he meets his passport which identifies him as a convict. He is therefore rejected be everyone he meets.
The Bishop, Monseigneur Bienvenue, welcomes him into his residence, feeds him and gives him a place to sleep. Jean Valjean repays his kindness by attacking the house keeper and stealing the only thing of value in the residence – the silverware.
The police catch Valjean & drag him back to the bishop: this man says that the silverware was a gift, is this true?
The bishop says, of course, they were a gift, but Jean, you forgot the most precious part – the silver candlesticks! And he hands over the last valuable things in the house. The police leave, stunned at the bishop. The bishop takes Valjean aside and "Do not forget, never forget, that you have promised to use this money in becoming an honest man."…"Jean Valjean, my brother, you no longer belong to evil, but to good. It is your soul that I buy from you; I withdraw it from black thoughts and the spirit of perdition, and I give it to God."
J. Vj runs from the town – out on the road he robs a shoe-shine boy of a coin – when he realizes what he has done, he is horrified at his action.
The next we hear of J. Vj., he has become Monsieur Madeleine, an industrialist who has transformed a town – anyone can find work with him, the poor can always find food, the hospital and school are rebuilt… All he requires is that his well cared for workers are honest men and women.
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