Summary: Through the story of David and Mephibosheth Jeff demonstrates the influence of loving kindness in the lives of those who are far from God.
The Influence of Loving Kindness
This morning we need to talk about putting on something that, when you first hear it may sound full of weak emotions and sentimentality. But it’s actually far more strategic than it is sentimental, weak or soft. But when we think of being loving and kind, or (I’m going to say) putting on loving kindness, if we’re not careful we can see it as an expression of weakness and nothing could be further from the truth.
As a matter of fact we’re going to see that God’s greatest warrior General and later his most brilliant warfare strategist and fighter as a king – was characterized by the quality of hessed (loving kindness).
Now think about this; there’s no need to remind us to be kind to people who can dominate us or overpower us. Right? Unless we’ve just lost our minds we’re all kind to those people.
Most of us are still kind to a boss, even one that’s short-tempered and unkind to us. No one here would tick off the cop who pulled us over. . . at least not on purpose.
But it takes a strong man or woman, and usually one empowered by the very Spirit of Christ to demonstrate real and genuine affection and loving kindness to someone who can’t really do anything for you, and especially to be Christ-like enough to demonstrate that kindness to someone who might otherwise naturally have been your enemy.
Luke 6:26-36 (HCSB)
26 Woe to you when all people speak well of you, for this is the way their ancestors used to treat the false prophets. 27 “But I say to you who listen: [It’s one thing to hear and another thing entirely to listen] Love your enemies, do what is good to those who hate you, 28 bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. [Now you’ve got to realize that in the gospel of Luke this entire section of teaching is aimed at disciples – followers. No one else could have understood this advice, which runs contrary and in direct opposition to everything intuitive and taught by the world] 29 If anyone hits you on the cheek, offer the other also. And if anyone takes away your coat, don’t hold back your shirt either. 30 Give to everyone who asks you, and from one who takes your things, don’t ask for them back. 31 Just as you want others to do for you, do the same for them. 32 If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners love those who love them. 33 If you do what is good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners do that. 34 And if you lend to those from whom you expect to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners to be repaid in full. 35 But love your enemies, do what is good, and lend, expecting nothing in return. Then your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High. For He is gracious to the ungrateful and evil. 36 Be merciful, just as your Father also is merciful.
Certainly the ultimate display of loving kindness is the cross – but we expect God to be good at agape (unconditional love), so I want to call your attention to a man we’ve already looked at – a man whose biggest failure was highlighted just a couple of weeks ago.
We all know that Jesus recommends agape – love without pre-conditions, limits, or conditions, but how realistic is it that I should expect to actually love that way? How important is it? What difference could it make?
We’ve been enjoying the teaching of Andy Stanley on Wednesday nights in our adult co-educational small group. The main emphasis of his current teaching is on the necessity of the church learning again how to leverage love as the greatest force for winning the world that has ever been unleashed by God, through the church, for the good of sinners.
They’ve seen us at our worst, picketing non-believers for acting like non-believers – and as Tony Harding so aptly put it last Wednesday – “that’s like being mad at a dog for doing what a dog does.”
But the one, all consuming passion of Christ Community Church, from now until Jesus comes, is to show the world what it looks like when a group of people really love like Jesus does.
Can we do that? Well, I think we can find encouragement in David.
We know David is like we are. He loves God, but he’s broken, flawed and imperfect. He loves God but he allows passion to take over and to lead him into tragic disregard and flagrant violation of God’s best for his life.