Becoming Jesus (Part Two: Kindness)

Text: Colossians 3:12 (NIV):
Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.

In some ways, it’s comical and in other ways tragic that Christians need to be taught a lesson on kindness.
Remember, the goal is to become Jesus to the world. And to do so, we must put on compassion and kindness.
Kindness – we all know what it means – we know what it is. It’s just so hard at times with so many knuckleheads around us.

Listen to these words from the Apostle Paul.
II Corinthians 6:1-10 (NLT):
As God’s partners, we beg you not to accept this marvelous gift of God’s kindness and then ignore it. 2 For God says, “At just the right time, I heard you. On the day of salvation, I helped you. Indeed, the “right time” is now. Today is the day of salvation. We live in such a way that no one will stumble because of us, and no one will find fault with our ministry. 4 In everything we do, we show that we are true ministers of God. We patiently endure troubles and hardships and calamities of every kind. 5 We have been beaten, been put in prison, faced angry mobs, worked to exhaustion, endured sleepless nights, and gone without food. 6 We prove ourselves by our purity, our understanding, our patience, our kindness, by the Holy Spirit within us, and by our sincere love. 7 We faithfully preach the truth. God’s power is working in us. We use the weapons of righteousness in the right hand for attack and the left hand for defense. 8 We serve God whether people honor us or despise us, whether they slander us or praise us. We are honest, but they call us impostors. 9 We are ignored, even though we are well known. We live close to death, but we are still alive. We have been beaten, but we have not been killed. 10 Our hearts ache, but we always have joy. We are poor, but we give spiritual riches to others. We own nothing, and yet we have everything.

Did you notice that right in the middle of troubles and hardships and calamities, being beaten and put in prison, facing angry mobs and working to exhaustion, sleepless nights, and no food to eat – he says, “We prove we are Christians – we prove we are true ministers of Christ, by our purity – our understanding and patience and our kindness, by the Holy Spirit within us.”

When I read that I have to say I get convicted. I just think I have problems. I’m not really enduring troubles and hardship and calamities on the same level as Paul did. I haven’t been beaten up lately or put in prison for my belief in Jesus – nor any other reason for that matter – I haven’t faced angry mobs, just a few disgruntled members every now and then.

Now, I have worked to exhaustion, had only a few sleepless nights, and never – no never, go hungry.
But what gets me, and I have a sneaking suspicion it gets you too, is not having everything happen as we want, or fall into place. God forbid someone cut us off on the highway, or break line at the grocery store, or ever have an opinion that is opposite of ours. Other than in those times, I’m about the kindest fellow you’ll ever want to be around.

Here’s the catch – here’s the message – to truly become Jesus we must discipline ourselves to be clothed with kindness even if everything around us has fallen apart.

Let me give you a couple of things that help me.
1. Accept the fact that life is not fair.
2. But God is good.

Listen to these precious words of Paul to the Corinthian church.
II Corinthians 1:3-5 (Msg):
All praise to the God and Father of our Master, Jesus the Messiah! Father of all mercy! God of all healing counsel! He comes alongside us when we go through hard times, and before you know it, he brings us alongside someone else who is going through hard times so that we can be there for that person just as God was there for us. We have plenty of hard times that come from following the Messiah, but no more so than the good times of his healing comfort—we get a full measure of that, too.