Jesus' behavior is almost always counterintuitive. He rails against normal expectations and common responses. His entire life was an atypical attitude pointing to the kindness of God.
Luke 6:35 says,
"But love your enemies, and do good, and lend expecting nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High; for He Himself is kind to ungrateful and evil men."
When we are kind to ungrateful people, we bear God's image and heart in a big way. How counterintuitive is it to return kindness for an insult? It's not normal. Our instinct is to punch back. Get even. Or at the very least, to give the "silent treatment" in hopes of hurting the other person back.
But God calls us to something greater. When we are being accused, bullied, or treated unkindly, we are to repay with kindness. We are to choose the high road - a path of great resistance. When we do this, we are earning rewards in heaven. When we hand out the kindness of God through the power of the Holy Spirit, the world takes notice.
If we loved our enemies…
- How many wars would cease?
- How many riots would stop?
- How many burglars would be disarmed?
- How many prideful hearts would be taken aback?
The way of our Christ is the way of the cross. Not a martyr or victim mentality, but an earnest willingness to lay down our lives, to love our enemies, and to show kindness to ungrateful, evil people.
So how do we do this in real life?
1. When you want to react in anger, take a breath, and respond in kindness instead.
2. When you want to tighten your fist and punch, open up your hand in surrender to God through prayer. Ask Him to refresh your memory of His forgiveness in your life.
3. When someone insults you on Facebook or social media - don't respond in kind. Say nothing except a prayer for God to open their eyes and make His heart known to them.
Pray for your persecutor. This is the single greatest act to undo bitterness in your heart.
4. When someone cuts you off in traffic, laugh it off and let them in. If they flip you off, just smile back. Inhale the Spirit and exhale the anger as you drive.
5. When you feel the heat and adrenaline rise in your body, slow it down, and wait before responding. Give yourself a moment to calm down instead of blowing up.
6. When someone asks you for money, give freely without expectation. If you can't give it freely with a cheerful heart, then don't give it.
7. When your spouse or loved one hurts your feelings, don't strike back. Don't throw something from the past back in their face. Instead, in a humble tone, simply tell them they hurt your feelings.
Be kindest to the people closest to you. It's easy to take them for granted and give all your patience and kindness to total strangers.
Guard your kindness energy level in order to make sure you have enough kindness to offer the people closest to you. The reward and payoff for this discipline is incredible.
And with all this, we must remember to offer grace to others and ourselves...because sometimes we nail it, and other times we fail it.
Have a great weekend! Be loved and love well.
PS - Please share if you enjoyed this post.