In Genesis, we have the story of Joseph. Joseph’s response to his brothers when they came down to Egypt to get food during the famine is an incredible act of kindness. Joseph had the power to do whatever he wanted to his brothers, instead, he chose to forgive them.
Joseph believed that God had a purpose in what had happened to him and why he had ended up in Egypt. Joseph was willing to be God’s love in every situation. He said “God sent me before you” as though he was some kind of advance “preparer of the way” for them.
His brothers still didn’t get it. When their father was about to pass away they thought he would finally get revenge for the awful things they had done to him. Joseph told them not to fear, they meant it for evil, but God had meant it for good.
Forgiveness meant more than forgetting the past, it was a commitment to loving his brothers and their families going forward.
So, what does kindness look like? It is hard to separate out all the different things that go into kindness.
It begins with compassion and seeing the need, but then there has to be action. Good intentions are not enough.
Our human tendencies are to focus on the needs that are closest to us. If we pray though, God will give us the spiritual glasses to see farther and to see the opportunities. We are busy, but what are we filling our hours and minutes and days up with?
We interpret needs as needing to be met, but we think that someone else will take care of it, it is someone else’s responsibility. It is more important that we show kindness than that we leave a blessing for someone else to work on.
We sometimes feel the need to speak truth. These days people put a lot of value on speaking truth, but maybe we need to put more emphasis on speaking in love. Even the prophets in the Old Testament who had to say hard things, always had the goal of restoration.
Scriptures used – 2 Samuel 9, Matthew 9:35-36, John 11:35, Ephesians 4:15