Our country is known as a kind place where people treat each other fairly. But with our busy schedules requiring us to be three places at once, our finer qualities seem to be lagging these days. Our worst offense is simply be in somebody else’s way.
God has always called on His people to be kind and sympathetic, even when others urge us to be mean. The prophet Elisha managed to trick an invading army and disarm them single-handedly, in 2 Kings 6:22-23. He led them blinded into the middle of Samaria and, surrounded by bloodthirsty Jewish soldiers urging slaughter, Elisha insisted on feeding them instead. “So he prepared a great feast for them, and when they had eaten and drunk he sent them away.” Such consideration was unheard of in such violent times! It granted years of peace for Israel.
A kind disposition is to be part of the character of a Christian. Without it people get the idea we don’t care about them, and that they don’t really matter. Jesus never treated people like that. On some of his busiest days, overrun by people and feeling worn out, he would turn a corner and find yet more people, but, “He felt compassion for them, and healed their sick.” (Mt.14:14)
To persecuted saints Peter wrote, “Let all be harmonious, sympathetic, brotherly, kindhearted, and humble in spirit.” (1 Peter 3:9) It is a challenge to treat difficult people kindly, but that’s what our Lord calls us to do.
– Tim Johnson