Summary: Here are three very important things about kindness.
MELVIN M. NEWLAND, MINISTER
CENTRAL CHRISTIAN, BROWNSVILLE, TX
For several weeks now I have been preaching sermons based on 1 Corinthians 13, the "love chapter" of the Bible, & we have been talking about some of the characteristics of the kind of love that God wants to be evident in our lives. And as you can see from the bulletin, the message this morning is entitled, "Love is Kind."
ILL. Some time ago I read a story about a preacher who saw a rather forlorn-looking man trying to hitchhike a ride on a dismal & stormy day. Feeling a surge of pity, he stopped & picked up the hitchhiker. But when the hitchhiker identified himself as a pickpocket who had just been released from the penitentiary, the preacher began to be a bit apprehensive. In his uneasiness he became careless & ran a stop sign.
A policeman saw him do it & immediately pulled him over, & ordered both men out of the car. After questioning them, the policeman pulled out his notebook, wrote out a ticket, & handed it to the preacher. Then he put the notebook back in his pocket, got back into his patrol car & drove off.
Rather shaken by it all, the preacher didn’t say much, but just drove to the spot where he was to let off the hitchhiker. As he got out, the pickpocket turned to the preacher & said, "Well, thank you for being so kind to me. And I believe that one kind deed deserves another." Then he pulled out of his pocket the policeman’s book of tickets & gave it to the preacher.
Now, I’m not sure what the moral of that story should be, but I’m convinced that it is good to be kind because sometimes kindness produces great dividends.
PROP. So this morning, I want to mention 3 very important things about kindness.
I. KINDNESS IS POWERFUL
First of all, kindness is powerful. That is something the world doesn’t understand. As the world looks at love, especially God’s love, it sees it as weakness & not as power.
ILL. The German philosopher, Nietzsche, who so influenced Hitler, looked at the Christian world & said that Christianity strips strong men of their power because Christianity encourages people to be kind. They spend their energy trying to take care of the feeble & the oppressed.
Nietzsche said, "If we could rid the world of Christianity then we could develop supermen." Nietzsche was wrong, & all who think like him are wrong, because kindness is powerful. Kindness is love in action.
ILL. Probably the greatest example is the love of a parent. The moment a child is born the parents who know what love is all about begin to think, "We must help this child grow & mature & become a responsible adult." So they sacrifice. They give of themselves. They make certain that the example they set is good & right.
And an amazing thing happens. The child begins to grow up & make decisions, oftentimes very much like the decisions that the parents have made. They share the same values - the same concerns. Why? Because love has been in action, & it has molded & shaped the life.
ILL. God does the same thing. He leaves the glories of heaven to live among men. We see Jesus in the upper room as He girds himself with a towel & washes the feet of the apostles. What is He doing? Jesus answers, "I have set you an example, that you might do as I have done unto you." That is love in action, & it is the power that can turn the world right side up!
II. KINDNESS IS VULNERABLE
Now the second point is this, kindness is vulnerable.
A. When we reach out to be kind we soon realize that being kind is risky.
1. Kindness can be misunderstood. It is sad that today kindness is often suspect.
ILL. A woman’s car breaks down on the road, & she worries whether to accept the offer of help from two strange men.
ILL. A man is kind to a woman who is not his wife, or a woman is kind to a man who is not her husband. And the world looks at that & sometimes misinterprets it.
2. Kindness can be misused. You help someone, & then that person becomes dependent upon you. He or she comes back again & again with open hands for you to repeat the act of kindness. And you begin to realize that your act of kindness is no longer kind.
So what happens? Some decide that it is too risky to be kind. So they turn kindness over to the welfare agencies, or to the Salvation Army. They say, "They’re professionals, they know what to do. They know how to handle the parasites. So we’ll leave it all up to them."