Believe 27 ~ Goodness / Kindness
May 24, 2015
Isn’t it wonderful when someone wants to take you out for lunch or dinner? Especially when there are no strings attached. But there’s also an expression, “There’s no such thing as a free lunch.” In simple terms it means “you don’t get something for nothing.” In other words, your meal is going to cost you. Someone wants to sell you something, or they want your support. They want something.
I don’t always buy into that theory, because we can buy for others without expectation that they will do something in return.
Yet, how often do we do something for someone, where we become upset at a later date because they didn’t do something we hoped they would. We buy someone a birthday gift, but they don’t buy us one. We give a Christmas gift, but they don’t give us one. We pay for dinner for someone, but the next time, they only pay for themselves. It even boils down to Christmas cards, where we know who sent us cards and who didn’t.
I heard a story about a woman who was standing at a bus stop. She just cashed her tax refund check and was carrying more money than usual. She looked around and noticed a shabbily dressed man standing nearby. As she watched, she saw a man walk up to him, hand him some money and whisper something in his ear.
She was so touched by that act of kindness that she decided to do the same. So she reached into her purse and took out $10, handed it to the man and whispered to him, “Never despair, never despair.”
The next day when she came to the bus stop, he was there again. But this time he walked up to her and handed her $110. She was dumbfounded and asked – “What’s this for?”
He said, “You won, lady. Never Despair paid 10 to 1.”
I can’t promise that every act of kindness will pay 10 to 1. To be honest, most of the time goodness and kindness may cost you something and require sacrifices on your part.
As we take a look at goodness and kindness, we need to understand there’s more to them than we think.
On the surface, we need to be good and kind people. If that was all there was, that would be sort of easy. But these words take us deeper and that’s going to be part of what we look at this morning.
I want to look at a scripture in which Jesus was being challenged by a lawyer who was asking him what a person needed to do to inherit eternal life. When Jesus told him to love his neighbor, he challenged Jesus and asked, who is my neighbor. Jesus then said this ~
30 A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and he fell among robbers, who stripped him and beat him and departed, leaving him half dead.
31 Now by chance a priest was going down that road, and when he saw him he passed by on the other side.
32 So likewise a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side.
33 But a Samaritan, as he journeyed, came to where he was, and when he saw him, he had compassion.
34 He went to him and bound up his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he set him on his own animal and brought him to an inn and took care of him.
35 And the next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper, saying, ‘Take care of him, and whatever more you spend, I will repay you when I come back.’
36 Which of these three, do you think, proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell among the robbers?”
37 The lawyer said, “The one who showed him mercy.” And Jesus said to him, “Go, and do likewise.” – Luke 10:30-37
We need to understand the basis of this story. It’s not just about some guy who happens to be a good guy and helps a guy who’s in trouble. As in most stories from Jesus, this goes deeper. The guy who gets beat up and robbed is from Jerusalem. The priest and Levite who choose not to help him are also from Jerusalem.
They are literally his real neighbors. But they say no way. I’m not going to help you. There’s nothing in this for me. I’m going to be inconvenienced and I have better things to do, so I’m going to cross to the other side of the street and pretend like I don’t see him.
BUT!!!! The guy who helps him is not his neighbor. He’s not from Jerusalem. He’s not from the hood. He’s from the wrong side of the tracks. He’s a Samaritan. That’s key in the story. Jesus tells us the guy from Samaria helps the guy from Jerusalem.
You see, the Jews in Jerusalem didn’t like the Samaritan Jews. Samaritan Jews were northern Jews and they didn’t worship in the same way, so they were considered second class Jews. Yet, this second class Jew helps the first class Jew, while the real neighbors don’t help their own brother.
Do you see where Jesus is going with this? So, who is your neighbor? All people, even those who have a low view of you are your neighbors. Man, that hits you, it has to and that’s the point and reason why Jesus told this story.
It was radical! It was all about mercy, and goodness and kindness! Ultimately, it’s all about the heart. And that’s the point of GOODNESS and KINDNESS.
In Galatians 5:22-23, Paul wrote — 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, KINDNESS, GOODNESS, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.
The words Paul is using for kindness and goodness are related. They’re not the same word, but the deeper meanings play off of one another. What they share in common is the actions that are taking place on the outside are coming from an inner moral sense of right and wrong and what’s best for another person.
That means our actions are directly linked to our hearts. Whatever we do, there’s a reason for it.
Kindness basically says I really desire to show kindness to another person. I’m not doing it as flattery. I’m not doing it to receive something back from another person. I’m doing it because my heart, spirit and mind are being transformed and I desire to do something kind for this person.
Goodness is the same exact concept, except that it has the possibility of saying I don’t want to perform this action for this person, but the inner moral rightness and what’s best for this person causes me to say yes.
We do what we do for others because inwardly — in our hearts we’ve decided this is the right thing to do for the benefit of the other person. Remember, it’s our motivation to do the deed which is important. We do whatever we do for a reason.
A number of years ago, there was a popular bumper sticker which read, “Commit random act of kindness.” While we applaud random acts of kindness, and oftentimes they occur with no strings attached, the way we live must consist of intentional acts of kindness which are motivated because of God’s goodness to us.
A man was walking up to a door and he saw a woman approaching. He stopped, smiled and waved at her to go ahead of him. She stopped, glared at him, and blurted out, “You’re only opening the door for me because I’m a woman!!” The man smiled and calmly replied, “No, ma’am. I’m opening the door for you because I am a gentleman.”
The man was letting her know his actions were determined not by her gender but by his nature. Such is the biblical brand of kindness and goodness. It acts as it is, no matter the circumstance. Not random acts, but redeemed pro-activity.
I’ve heard goodness and kindness being described as twin fruits. Kindness is who we are, and goodness is how we act toward others, and you need to have both. You can’t act good toward others unless you are kind and have kindness in your heart. And . . . kindness in your heart is not enough if it doesn’t spill out and positively affect the lives of others, and that is your goodness coming out.
Can you be kind today? We can begin at home. Is there something you can do for that brother or sister that irritates you at times?
Or what about your spouse? Why not make a cup of coffee or give a back rub without being asked. Be kind.
Is there someone at your school that may need some kindness? Maybe someone who is being picked on. Would you consider that the kindness of Christ might have enough power in your life to start a chain reaction of kindness there?
And what about that boss or fellow employee who may be stressed to the max, irritable, or grumpy? Hasn’t Jesus been kind to you even when you were less than loveable?
Even to ourselves. Don’t forget about yourself. We can be hard on ourselves, can’t we? Practice goodness and kindness to yourself.
The possibilities are endless. The mother of four in line at the store behind you. Could you be kind to her? Why not let her go ahead of you? You may spend a few more minutes in line, but getting to the car a few minutes faster might just make her day. And who knows? It might help her be kinder to her family when she gets home.
Kindness and goodness don’t occur just to those we’re good friends with, it extends beyond our imagination. Oftentimes they are small acts of goodness, which occur because of our kindness. They don’t have to be huge deals. Sometimes all someone needs is a reminder they are cared about.
Paul put it this way in Titus 3 ~ 3 For we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures, passing our days in malice and envy, hated by others and hating one another. – Titus 3:3. It’s obvious from this passage, we’re not always kind.
But God is kind and good and generous. Listen to what Paul says next . . .
4 But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared,
5 He saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but ACCORDING TO HIS OWN MERCY, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit,
6 whom He poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior,
7 so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.
God knows us better than anyone. He knows we sin. Yet He did not withhold his kindness towards us.
With that in mind, go into the world and make a difference because God has made a difference in your life. Be KIND! Be GOOD!