Love is Kind
Love is patient and kind. . . .
~ 1 Corinthians 13:4
Jesus commanded us to love one another. This is not too hard to understand in general, but sometimes in the particulars we can wonder what it means, or lose sight of what it means in the heat of the moment. We are fortunate to have Paul's great ode to Christian love in 1 Corinthians 13 (specifically the description in 1 Corinthians 13:4-7) to keep us on track.
The first words in Paul's description are, “Love is patient, love is kind”. Kindness is a widely-recognized secular virtue, especially among “social Christians”, who mistake kindness for basic Christian virtue. For Christianity does not always seem kind. Remember in Matthew 10:34-35, the verses, “Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to turn a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, . . .” Where the virtue of kindness conflicts with the truth of Christ, the truth must prevail. It is not kindness to tell someone that a sin is just fine, that they should have no concern about stealing or envy or sexual immorality.
But we are nevertheless remonstrated to kindness, and it can hardly be overdone. For it is always an attribute of human nature, that one hearing criticism hears it a hundred times louder than the person speaking it.
So we have to try not to be critical or negative unless it is our job, or we think we have no choice; and when we do it, we need to work hard to find a way to do it with the softest possible voice.
This is a problem I personally need to work on, and I am trying every day to do better. A natural tendency to sarcasm is a red flag for prayer and change in how we speak to, and about, other people.
Lord, grant me patience and kindness, that I might show Your love. Amen.
~ Mason Barge
Editor, Daily Prayer