Summary: We all like to think of our selves as good, decent, and kind people. But, I was shocked to find out that the Bible tells us kindness doesn’t come naturally to us.
(this was a sermon centered on the “Fruit of the Spirit" in Galatians 5:22-23a)
Open: A Sunday school teacher was telling her class the story of the Good Samaritan, in which a man was beaten, robbed and left for dead. She described the situation in vivid detail so her students would catch the drama. Then, she asked the class: "If you saw a person lying on the roadside, all wounded and bleeding, what would you do?"
A thoughtful little girl broke the hushed silence, “I think I’d throw up.”
APPLY: When most of think about the story of the Good Samaritan, that’s not generally the first thing that comes to our minds. Perhaps that’s because we focus less on the man in the ditch than on the Samaritan that helped him.
The Good Samaritan is a “feel good” story. It’s a story of a good man helping someone along the road. It’s a story of kindness and mercy. And we’d all like to think we’d behave just like the Samaritan did in Jesus’ story.
ILLUS: In my files I have a number of stories of Churches and College campuses where the leaders experimented with having a man sit near their church building or on their campus dressed in ragged clothes like a tramp or a pan-handler... and giving the appearance of man down on his luck.
In each incident, people passed by the man without paying him a second thought. Nobody seemed to care enough to even ask him about his situation.
As I studied the Scriptures dealing with kindness I was shocked with what I found. I found the Bible teaches us that God’s concept of kindness does not come easily to us. We do not naturally exhibit God’s type of kindness.
Thus, the Bible teaches us that there is no one who naturally does kind things. In fact, Christians are urged to constantly seek to be kinder in their lives.
Colossians 3:12 Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.
I. Now, that’s not to say that many people in this world doesn’t do kind things. It’s just that the world doesn’t think about kindness the same way God does.
For example: Jesus gave us a rule of thumb on how to be kind to others. It’s called the Golden Rule. Does anybody remember what the Golden rule says???
“Do to others as you would have them do to you.” Luke 6:31
Did you realize that Jesus wasn’t the first to say something like this???
* 500 years before Jesus, Confucius said "Do not unto others what you would not wish done to yourself."
* The Buddhists (which predated Jesus) also said “Putting oneself in the place of others, kill not, nor cause to kill.”
* In the Old Testament Apocrypha in the book Tobit: "Do not do to anyone what you yourself hate."
* Rabbi Hillel (20 B.C.): "What is hateful to you, do not do to anyone else. This is the whole law; all the rest is only commentary"
Now, ALL of these authorities pre-dated Jesus. And if we didn’t look real close at them, most people would think they said what Jesus did… but that’s where most people would be wrong.
Confucius said “DO NOT unto others”
The Buddhists said: “Kill NOT”
Tobit said “DO NOT DO to anyone what you’d hate”
And Rabbi Hillil said “WHAT IS HATEFUL TO YOU…” don’t do that
But notice how Jesus differed from all these great philosophers and religious teachers…
They said “DON’T”
Jesus said “DO”
“DO to others as you would have them do to you.” Luke 6:31
That is the significant difference between God’s concept to of KINDNESS.. and the world’s
ILLUS: An evangelist told of the time when he was a boy he came home one day to find his mother sitting at the table with an old tramp. Apparently she had gone shopping, met the tramp along the way, and invited him home for a warm meal.
During the conversation the tramp said, "I wish there were more people like you in the world."
Whereupon his mother replied, "Oh, there are. But you must look for them."
The old man simply shook his head, saying. "But, lady, I didn’t need to look for you… you looked for me."
The world figures kindness is just going about your own business and not hurting anybody.
God’s kindness is the type that goes looking for you.
II. But… aren’t there people who DO good things for others? Who go "looking" for people to help?