Love That Could Make the World a Better Place

Daily Reflection / Produced by The High Calling
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Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud.

1 Corinthians 13:

I am convinced that we could make the world a better place if we would simply focus on one aspect of love. It would change our marriages and families, our offices and workplaces, our classrooms and stores, our streets and sidewalks, and, perhaps, even our government. What aspect of love offers such transformation? Kindness, the second dimension of love featured in 1 Corinthians 13:4.

The Greek verb behind the word "kind" means, basically, to do something beneficial, pleasant, or good for someone else. It conveys activity that, at first glance, isn't especially profound or world-changing. Exercising kindness is doing something nice for someone else. It's offering a word of encouragement, or helping someone carry a heavy box, or giving a birthday card, or showing up at work with a person's favorite pastry—as happened to me a few days ago. Love, from a biblical perspective, isn't so much a matter of feelings as it is treating people in a particular way. And kindness stands at the center of this particularity.

Why am I convinced that loving people through kindness could change the world? There are several reasons. First, extending kindness isn't particularly difficult. It does require some moments of thought, and sometimes some advance planning. But kindness is easily given. We all can do it, many times a day.

Second, kindness can really make a difference to the recipient. Yesterday, my teenage daughter walked over to me and for no apparent reason gave me a hug and kiss, saying, "I love you, Daddy." I felt fantastic, lighter than air. Even today, I'm still delighting in my daughter's simple act of kindness. Just think of the potential you have to touch the hearts of many people through being kind to them.

Third, kindness breeds kindness. When someone does something special for me, not only do I feel happy, but also I find myself wanting to do the same for somebody else. Moreover, when I do something kind for someone, I feel good, and I want to do it again.

Fourth, kindness demonstrates the reality of the Gospel. When you extend yourself to care for another, even if your gesture is relatively small, it nevertheless mirrors God's love for us in Jesus Christ. By treating people with kindness, we will help them—and the world—to experience the love of God and to be open to hearing the good news of God's saving activity through Christ.

QUESTIONS FOR FURTHER REFLECTION: How have you been the recipient of kindness recently? In what ways could you be kind to people today? What might help you to love through kindness on a regular basis?

PRAYER: Lord, sometimes love is complicated and costly. Sometimes we don't know exactly how to love someone. And sometimes love requires sacrifice, even the sacrifice of our lives.

But love can also be expressed simply, through acts of kindness. This sort of love doesn't usually take much thought or effort, though it does require that we think about the people around us and their needs. Nevertheless, we have the power to love people through kindness each and every day.

Help me, dear Lord, to be a kind person. Give me eyes to see how I can offer kindness to my colleagues, my family members, my neighbors. Help me not to be so preoccupied with myself and my responsibilities that I fail to love through basic acts of kindness.

Even today, Lord, may your Spirit help me to be kind to the people in my life. To you be all the glory, Amen.