Gulp. It’s 40 days until 2021 and this year has been a rollercoaster. I’m sure you feel the same. We are all battling the pandemic, the economic uncertainty, the political upheaval, and the long-term effects that systemic racism has had on society. Some of these things, of course, have always been with us. But it is taking new pressures to make us realize what was always beneath the surface.
2020 is giving violent clarity, exposing the realities of life. It seems shocking after a full decade of people with filters to hide the flaws, of taking a picture of your home only when it is clean, of taking selfies when your makeup is good and hair is neat.
The fact is all is not well. People are not fine. Government is not always on your side. You won’t live forever even if a photo filter erases every wrinkle. And then the aching question posed by the harsh realities….”So what are you going to do about it?”
What is your part, my part? We can’t take on all the evils of the world. Yes, I said evil. I know I said it even though I spent about 30 minutes the other night explaining to someone that evil didn’t really exist.
Evil, though it can be felt, is not the same as something materially “real” just as dark and cold do not “exist”. They are real enough however if you are stuck in a dark place with no light or are out in the cold with no heat. They are measurements of lack. Lack of light becomes darkness, lack of heat becomes cold.
Evil is a measurement of the lack of God. When God removes his presence and his attributes from something what is left is evil. So what do we mean when we call a person’s acts “evil”? It is the shudder of cold that says, “I feel no God in this… no love, no care for life, no patience, no kindness. Nothing…. nothing when there should be something.”
There is something in the human heart that knows it was made to be full of something. It doesn’t actually matter if you are so-called “saved” or not. The heart knows it, craves it. I think that’s partially why there is this current social-media mania for “kindness”.
We just passed world-kindness day and my Instagram feed was full of kindness quotes. It was a lovely day, and each person who took the time from their schedule to share some kindness did a good thing.
The only sadness from my point of view is exercising kindness without knowing its ultimate source.
I’m not a good water drinker. What comes out of my faucet is fine but flavorless. I easily give in to more exciting beverages like coffee, soda, or even kool-aid. However, I love spring water…. that is real, spring water.
The cold, freshwater that seems almost alive from clear mountain springs. People have attempted to bottle it and imprison its life-giving properties inside of plastic bottles, but it always loses something in translation. There are better brands of course. I’m excited by the volcanic nature of Fiji water and there’s several from Norway I like. If you get them very cold they might be close to the natural.
People even like to take the free, freshwater that comes from the ground and put their own “brand” on it. If you think about it, it’s kind of laughable. The rocks around the water where it springs up have got to be confused by all of our posturing about “owning” the water. They, after all, get the first drink.
Kindness is like that. We can put our own brand, our own handle, our own spin on it but it is just renaming something that naturally flows from God, and is freely available for anyone who would let some of Him into themselves.
The word “Kindness” is a fruit word. It is the great creation decree that each thing should reproduce after its…. kind. When we say kindness don’t we mean to be nice, compassionate, generous, slow-to anger, loving?
Uh, oh, we accidentally named the attributes of God, and as much as we moderns would like to have “kindness” without Him, our hearts secretly know we never will. We are created after his “kind”. When we see the wonders of our creator hidden in the people around us it is a drink from a clear clean spring for a thirsty dry soul.
If you find yourself thirsty today I can’t recommend anything higher than to seek out the source of kindness, Jesus himself, and for all of the other moments let us share a cup of kindness with each other.
“Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.”