The Kindness of Strangers

Image by lauraelatimer0 from Pixabay

It is found in the driver that lifts their foot a little off the accelerator that you may pass safely into the lane of traffic. It is found in the one who would still dare to hold the door open, just because. It can be found in the one who will return your grocery cart for you, gives you a kind word, helps you in myriad different ways, or just send a smile in your direction when you least expect it.

The kindness of strangers . . . I don’t think we pay attention to how often and how many ways each of us gets to experience this blessing from heaven.

The fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5) has long been a topic of study among believers, and with good reason. It best helps us to display the same characteristics that Christ displayed in our own lives. He taught and also lived out what true kindness was all about. He not only spoke about it through His words, but He lived a life of compassion toward people (Matthew 9:36-38). And as such, calls us to do the same.

Some of the noted characteristics of this fruit is found in the words gentleness and goodness. These words teach us to be kind to one another (something we have learned in our elementary years but has seemed to pass from our understanding as we grow in life).  And they teach us to respond to others with the best of all that is in us with a generous and right spirit, even when others may not deserve it.

Today, you will most likely encounter many strangers along your path. Why not be the one that shows a certain measure of kindness, just because. Love them like you know them.

“Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering” Colossians 3:12

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“Have A Warmer Heart Than Usual!”

“But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was: and when he saw him, he had compassion on him,” Luke 10:33

I live a good distance from the church I attend which means lots of driving and observing time.  Often times, on my way to church I look out my window and I stare.  Some may think I’m being rude, but it’s the exact opposite.  I look at that person sitting on the stoop or the one standing on the corner, and I wonder.  I wonder about what they may have gone through that day.  I wonder what it is that made that person look so sad.  I wonder about the mom on the bus stop struggling to get the stroller, baby, and bags onto the bus.  I wonder.

How often have we really taken the time to see beyond the people to see the person, to really try to imagine you walking in the shoes of another?  To see what’s going on inside the person without judging the outside?  To show a tender heart instead of a wagging head, disapproving eyes, and a simple tsk-tsk-tsk?

When it’s all said and done, it is the “royal law” of love that wins out every single time (James 2:8).  Thinking beyond oneself will go farther and make more of a difference in the world we live in.  Why?  Because that’s what Christ did for us!  He looked beyond Himself, beyond His own needs and hurts, and saw what the world needed.  The world needed a Savior.

Even during His earthly ministry, it has been noted in the Bible, “But when he saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion…” (Matthew 9:36).  To the leper: “And Jesus, moved with compassion, put forth his hand, and touched him…” (Mark 1:41).  To the mom who just lost her son: “And when the Lord saw her, he had compassion on her…” (Luke 7:13).  To the world: “Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done,” (Luke 22:42).  To His enemies: “Father, forgive them;  for they know not what they do,” (Luke 23:34).

That’s how warm Jesus’ heart was toward people.  He had a genuine concern to look at people from the inside out instead of the outside in.  He saw the person beyond the people.  So did the Good Samaritan.  Despite the rejection and animosity he had faced down through the years at the hand of the Jews, the wounded man lying before him needed his help.  He was not going to let those years of bitterness or even indifference change his resolve to help the one that needed him now.

Paul taught the church in Ephesus to “And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you. Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children; And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us…” (Eph. 4:32-5:2).

Followers of God are concerned with the person on the inside.  A child of God is warmed to the plight of the human in humanity and sees them for who they are.  They are someone that God is concerned enough about to allow His Son to die.  Shouldn’t we then have that same compassion for one another?

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