Acts of Kindness
David thought, “I will show kindness to Hanun son of Nahash, because his father showed kindness to me.” So David sent a delegation to express his sympathy to Hanun concerning his father. When David’s envoys came to Hanun in the land of the Ammonites to express sympathy to him.
~ 1 Chronicles 19:2 (NIV)
Most of us remember where we were on September 11, 2001, when four commercial airliners became missiles in the hands of terrorists. We were at work, home or school when we got the urgent call, “Turn on the television!” We watched replays of the plane hitting Tower One of the World Trade Center in New York City. Time stood still as we watched another plane strike Tower Two. We willed the towers to stand . . . but they crumbled before our eyes. Even the seemingly impregnable Pentagon was a target. The horrifying marks of the crash site in a lonely Pennsylvania field pay homage to the passengers who bravely fought back. The death toll of this atrocity rose to almost 3,000 people.
America was stunned at this attack on its own soil. Some were amazed that people immediately responded with kindness and compassion. USA Today reported, “In New York, people literally took the shirts off their backs and bandaged the injured.” Furthermore, tens of thousands of people lined up to donate blood at hospitals and blood banks. Solemn candlelight vigils were held throughout the world. “Miss Manners,” Judith Martin, reported a shocking return to civility. “Please, please, let’s make it last,” she exhorted. But shouldn’t acts of kindness be our ordinary response, not an extraordinary reaction to a catastrophic event?
Nahash, the Ammonite king, had rendered some memorable service to King David. When he died, David responded by acting kindly toward Hanun, Nahash’s son. However, David’s kindness was misinterpreted. The men sent by David to express sympathy over Nahash’s death were humiliated and accused of spying. War ensued, though it was certainly not the intended outcome of David’s gesture.
Just as God unreservedly extends kindness to us, we are called to “clothe [ourselves] with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience” (Colossians 3:12). We are to reflect God’s kindness to others, regardless of how they choose to respond.
Don’t wait for a crisis to extend loving-kindness. Take the time to ponder who is suffering from a recent heartbreak. Maybe they could use a listening ear or a shoulder to cry on. Who feels discouraged in your circle of friends? Maybe they need to hear an encouraging word. Who might feel alone? Perhaps you could pick up the phone to tell them that you care . . . and then leave the outcome to God.
Dear Lord, I praise you as the essence of all things loving; You are complete in Yourself; You are unconditional in Love. In my heart I desire to be more like You, and I invite you to be with me as I move about through my day. When I begin to compare myself to others, let me remember that we are all made in your likeness, and that each of our bodies is a temple of Your Holy Spirit. When I am tempted to make judgments about the actions, behaviors, even the looks of others as a way of making myself feel better, come to my aid and bring about in me a spirit of contentment, a spirit of gratitude. Help me to treat each person I encounter as I would like to be treated, and fill me with loving kindness so that my thoughts, words, and deeds flow from Your spirit of unconditional Love. Let me remember You always; let me be ever aware of Your presence in each moment of my life, as I would surely cease to live, to move, to have my being if thought of me falls from Your mind’s embrace for the span of even one breath; for it is Your breath that gives me life. I ask all these things through Christ who strengthens me. Amen.In Jesus,
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Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide. Devotion taken from NIV Women’s Devotional Bible.
Most of us remember where we were on September 11, 2001.