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Could Kindness Be A Burden We Have To Carry?

We are spending time looking at the fruit of the Holy Spirit – in Galatians Chapter 5 – one segment of the fruit at a time - that fruit which God grows within us - as He works upon us - fashioning our character - changing us and transforming us.
Love - Joy - Peace - Patience - and we now come to KINDNESS or GENTLENESS.

All around us we see revealed - the hatred and violence and wickedness and sinfulness of men - and we see in Jesus Christ, Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, and this supernatural characteristic, Kindness.

There are certain things which do need repeating briefly - things which need to be removed - what we have to get rid of - and then as we come to Jesus Christ, Jesus breathes the Holy Spirit into our lives and the fruit begins to grow.

Can you see this kind and gentle King - Jesus Christ - riding down the slopes of the Mount of Olives on a donkey - so humble - so meek - so lowly - receiving the praise of children - and when Jesus comes to that Gate in the Wall, Jesus enters the City of Jerusalem.
When people were expecting Jesus to turn right to the site of the Antonio Roman Fortress and liberate Jerusalem politically - and overthrow the Roman occupiers - Jesus turns to the left.
Jesus turned left and went into the Temple and overthrew all that was going on in the church of that day - the tables of the moneychangers - the traders - the hypocrisy and the deceit. Jesus chased those who were misleading the people.

That is one picture of gentleness and kindness. This is what we have to cultivate.
This is what God wants to grow in us, and like the others, it is NOT an easy characteristic to display and exercise. It may mean that the blind will come to you - and those who are needy - but others will become indignant. (Matthew 21)

Kindness is a very beautiful word. Gentleness is a very strong word. And yet, Jesus is about to face the cruellest unkindness which man could throw at HIM.

There were plots and plans to overthrow HIM - to get rid of HIM - to silence HIM. From His friends, Jesus experienced betrayal - denial - and desertion – as they all ran away at the cross.

When we face similar situations - how do we react? Remember Jesus taught His disciples - what they do to ME they will also do to you.

We are called to follow HIM - which means being called to suffering - and that is what we will experience. We are to respond Lovingly, Joyfully, Peacefully, and Patiently, and with Gentleness and Kindness. What does this mean for us in 2017?

The Greek word used "CHRESTOTES" - means - a kindly disposition - a warm goodwill towards others. The kindness of GOD.

Think of Jesus coming down the Mount of Olives, knowing what He would face before the week was out. Jesus weeps over the city. At that place there is today a beautiful small white chapel for prayer in the shape of a Tear Drop. Jesus wanted to give the city PEACE. Jesus wanted to give the people PEACE. Luke 19 verse 41.

Jesus went back there - to that spot - and says - Matthew 23 verse 37 - how often I have longed to gather you together as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings - BUT YOU WERE NOT WILLING - you would not come - and the consequence is desolation.

I have longed to see the place where we worship filled with people hungry for the Word of God - people weeping over their sin - converted - saved - baptised in the Holy Spirit - ministering to the needs of others.
KINDNESS - in our modern usage of the word, it almost conjures up weakness and sentimentality. But real kindness is a supernatural quality - a fruit of the Spirit of God - which we can grow as the Holy Spirit is permitted to take full charge of our lives. It should pervade our disposition, and begin to flow from us towards others, without even our thinking.

We do not need to put a lot of effort into growing the fruit. Jesus says - Consider the lilies of the field - they cannot think - they just do what they are there to do - grow.
KINDNESS - some will receive it and be bathed in the very kindness of God - others will reject it and have to face the sternness of God.
KINDNESS is not a mild compensation for lack of clear thinking - or a lack of firmness. People can come and ask you to do something - and if you are not clear in your own mind, or if you are not firm as to what to do - you can do something for the sake of so-called ‘peace’. Some may regard you as being kind. That is not kindness - that is more like cowardice.

A number of years ago a lady of around 70 came into the garage - she gave me her car keys and asked me to fill up her tank with these words, "I always meet a nice kind man in the garages I go to." My reply was "No - you have never met a nice kind man in the garages you go to, not until today!" I gave her back her keys, and said, "Now unlock your petrol cap - take the nozzle and gently squeeze the trigger." The woman became so excited - she had never done this in all her life - and she thought she would never ever have the joy of filling up her own car with petrol. She was enjoying it. She replaced the nozzle - locked the cap - and went in to pay.

Kindness is not being a do-gooder - the easy way.

Kindness is not throwing money at a problem.

Kindness is not being tolerant.

The kindest thing a surgeon may have to do at times is cut out the cancer. With tremendous compassion he may have to use the knife.

The kindest thing a disciple of Jesus may have to say at times is - "Cut that out!"
Or else, the moral tumour will grow and the corruption will spread.

The real meaning of kindness has worn thin over these past years.

Frequently, throwing money at a problem might be one of the unkindest things that could be done. It does salve some people's consciences, and these may be the very consciences that need the conviction of the Holy Spirit.

Philippians 2 verse 5 - Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus. Kindness is really treating others the way Jesus Christ has treated you. And Jesus came to lighten our darkness.

A friend was about speak at a large meeting. He was feeling a bit apprehensive - and the organisers alongside him just whispered - "We love you and we are praying for you." That is a picture of KINDNESS. It is like the Father speaking to Jesus - This is My Beloved Son - with whom I am well pleased. I see You, Son - and I am watching - and what I see I like - and what I hear I approve of. That is the kindness of God the Father.

When you are united with the Father you cannot help but be kind - that may mean taking a whip, and lashing out at sin in the place of prayer.

When you are linked to Jesus - you will become kind without having to try. Kindness will grow.

In 2 Corinthians 6 verses 3 to 10, Paul lists some 25 things that are marks of a servant of God. Look at what is in the middle – verse 6. - KINDNESS. By the way, this is a sort of job description for an apostle.

Kindness is NOT softness. It is NOT being sentimental or wet. Jesus Christ was never that.

That is why it is no kindness whatsoever to let people think they are Christians when they KNOW they are not. I think of one woman saying to me - "I don't think I'm a Christian." Her brother interrupted to say - "Of course you are. Isn't she?" To which I had to reply with loving honesty - "I have no evidence that your sister is a disciple of Jesus."
We must never lessen the gravity of the sin - nor minimise the seriousness of sin. Yes, we have to be tender with those enmeshed in sin - trapped in its web - and some don't realise how trapped they are - and that needs tender prayerful cutting away of the imprisoning barbed wire.

The enemy imprisons people - in all kinds of ways - with false deceptive security. There has to be a cutting away of the imprisoning fence, and this has to be done kindly - and that can be difficult. So many are frightened, and many have every cause to be frightened - but not at us - this is where we have to grow kindness.

When running a Children's Meeting on a Thursday evening I recall one child coming and saying, "Mr Shaw, I'm not allowed to come to your meeting." That is where we need to be tender and prayerful and kind and cut the imprisoning fence - the fence that keeps - parent and child away from God – the barrier that keeps people away from Jesus Christ.

With kindness, that is a burden we will continue to carry.

“Loving Father, help me to demonstrate Your fruit of kindness, so that somebody somewhere may use it as a light to lighten their darkness.” Amen.
(This week's "Word from Scotland" - see Studylight.org and liveasif.org in the 'Archives' section, for previous columns - every prayerful blessing.)
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Congratulations to Dr Desmond Henry on his recent recognition and appointment as a Senior Lecturer in the Unit for Reformed Theology and Development of the South African Society. Not to worry, this is a dual role to his continued work at the Baptist Theological College where he has served on full-time staff now for 5 years now. This appointment will enable him to supervise Doctorates and allows for the articulation of students from our Master of Theology Program.

This is a wonderful testimony to the great work we do at Baptist Theological College of Southern Africa in preparing our students for ministry globally. The Private Sector Providers are making a wonderful contribution that's recognized by the Public Sector. BTC is committed to being a high-tech and high-touch Seminary, taking pastoral equipping to a new level!

Who knows, maybe in a few years (when he is old and grey), they will honor him with the prestigious title of "Professor" :).
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Baptist Theological College of Southern Africa is an Association incorporated under section 21 Reg. No. 2003/019542/08 BTC is registered with the Department of Education as a Private Higher Education Institution under the Higher Education Act, 1997.Registration Certificate N0 2000/HE08/004.

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