We have a couple of blue La-Z-Boy ® recliner chairs in our living room. Over the last year or so our pooch seems to have taken ownership over one of them. The chairs are on opposite sides of the room, one near the kitchen and the other nestled between the two large windows at the far right back corner of the room. We keep Mandie’s chair covered with a blanket so that the material on the chair doesn’t soil. I keep a pillow on the other one to thwart any attempts by the dog to lie there. In her position near the corner windows Mandie has a commanding view of the kitchen and living room as well being able to be a sentry over the side and backyard of our apartment.
Since we have moved here, she has developed the funny habit of slowly exiting the chair by first placing her front paws on the floor and arching her back (still up on the chair…) to stretch before she gets down all the way. It is a humorous process to observe, but gets even more hilarious when her front paws begin to slide across the hardwood floors. This happened so quickly a few times that she actually slid right off the chair into a pile on the floor… complete with the silliest look plastered on her face! To me it was like she was already committed to the action and could not reverse the process even if she wanted to!
Well, believe it or not, that commitment to an action got me to thinking about KINDNESS again this morning! In Titus 3:1-2 the Apostle Paul instructs his young pastor friend Titus that believers “must always be ready to do something helpful and not say cruel things or argue. They should be gentle and KIND to EVERYONE.” (Contemporary English Version) He then went on to explain that we “used to be stupid, disobedient and foolish, as well as (be) slaves to all sorts of desires and pleasures… But after that the KINDNESS and LOVE of God our Savior toward man appeared…” (Titus 3:3-4 CEV/KJV) And on top of all that, He declared that we had nothing to do with it. It was strictly an act of God driven by His mercy, KINDNESS and grace. (Titus 3:5)
Mandie’s commitment to her get-off-the-chair routine… whether it works smoothly or not, has not stopped her from repeating the process day in and day out. Most of the time it seems to work seamlessly and the few times it doesn’t go quite as planned… well, she just shrugs off the personal embarrassment and ignores the laughter from the two humans in the room and saunters off like nothing ever happened!
I have come to learn that this is the same commitment to the process of walking in God’s KINDNES even when people may say or do ugly things to you. Titus 3:2 tells us to be gentle and KIND to EVERYONE. It doesn’t stipulate whether they are fellow Christians, friends, family or the meanest person you know! Depending on the translation you use, the Word is talking about EVERYONE or ALL men (ie; the race of man) As far as I know, ALL means ALL! I can’t find anywhere where Jesus gave us a list of certain situations or mentioned a particular group of people where with we can NOT do this.
My job and yours as ambassadors of Jesus Christ (see 2 Corinthians 5:20) is to always respond in love as demonstrated in KINDNESS toward others, whether they are doing the same or not. I know that I was shocked when close family members openly criticized and complained about me concerning some of the decisions I have made in the care of my wife, but you know, their lack of KINDNESS and love shouldn’t have affected my response to them. And in reality it didn’t change my outward actions toward them, but I sure thought of a lot of ugly things that I am now ashamed of!
I believe that Paul is telling us that the bottom line here is that other people’s words and actions should not change the way that Jesus has instructed us to think and act - ALL THE TIME! My trust and my self- worth should be so deeply rooted in the love of Christ for and through me that the weak places or failures in other people’s responses to the things of life do not bother me.
I have learned that my steady response of KINDNESS keeps the door open for Christ to work His change in other people’s lives… as well as in mine! Our acts of KINDNESS will draw people to the message of Christ’s love, but only HIS actions can perform the changes in them. Our job is just to love without judgment and condemnation and trust HIM to work in people’s hearts. That brings us back to the truth of LOYALY, but then, I’ll share more on that tomorrow!
As for today… Live your life as an ambassador of Christ as demonstrated by your continual KINDNESS toward others whether you think they deserve it or not! Have a great day. Stay in tune to His Word, and keep asking yourself… “What or Whom am I expecting today?”