Kindness

Kindness

Scripture: Ephesians 4:32, 2 Peter 1:4
It's easy to talk about kindness but hard to practice it. This broadcast discusses what the Bible says about kindness. Christ had no barriers in being kind to people. Love lies at the root of all of the commandments.
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One of the most interesting clubs I ever saw in operation was called, The Bykota Club, and that actually means "Be Ye Kind One to Another." The members of that club were required to do a kind deed for somebody every day. One of the greatest inconsistencies of Christians is to emphasize some commandments and overlook or minimize others which are just as important. The text in Ephesians 4:32 says, "And be ye kind to another." That is a command of God which cannot and must not be neglected by Christians.

Friends, if this commandment were obeyed, domestic problems would practically disappear. I suppose 90 percent of the petty church problems would also be overcome immediately. I think we'd be surprised to know how many troubles are rooted in the tongue uncontrolled. Undoubtedly, the tongue is one of the most destructive members of the body. It's easy to talk about kindness but it's more difficult to practice it. And nothing in the Bible is more difficult to obey than the Sermon on the Mount. Love lies at the root of all the commandments that Jesus gave in that sermon. What do we know about these words, friends? "Do unto others as you'd have them do unto you." What practical experience do you have in turning the other cheek and going the second mile? I tell you today, God's power will be seen in an experience which produces kind people. A part of the secret of Christ's ministry was in His power to love everybody and to be kind to all. There were no barriers with Him of race, color or religion. He won the hearts of everybody with His sympathetic and loving attitude. Nothing is so irresistible as the spirit of love working through kindness, silently, like nature, piling up snowfields through tiny snowflakes, one after another, until mighty streamliners are made helpless. So the simple deeds that we do day by day can generate tremendous power.

In the early days of the Salvation Army, General Booth was leading a group of singers on an English street corner. In those days, by the way, it was a very unpopular cause (the Salvation Army), General Booth picked one of the worst towns and the most disreputable street on the night about which I'd like to speak. He stopped with his little band of singers in front of an English Pub filled with half-drunk revelers. As they sang the old Christian hymn, "There is a Fountain Filled with Blood," one of the drunks came staggering out the door and with an oath, threw a bottle at General Booth. It struck him on the head and stunned him momentarily. After wiping away the blood, General Booth came forward and gripped that man's hand and said, "God bless you and forgive you,

Well, the years went by. The General had come back to that town to dedicate a new citadel of the Salvation Army. As he addressed a huge crowd at the downtown citadel, General Booth compared those early days of unpopularity with the present day accomplishment. He told the story of that beer bottle and while he was telling the story an old man made his way down the aisle and came up to stand beside the General. As General Booth turned to him, the old man said, "I want you to shake the hand that threw that bottle." Then he threw open his overcoat to reveal the flaming red jersey of a Salvation Army's Captain uniform. He said, "I could never forget the words you spoke to me that night after I threw that bottle, when you came up and gripped my hand. It led me finally to give my heart to Christ."

Well, friends, it's hard to be kind and refuse to retaliate. But a kind, courteous Christian is the most powerful argument that can be produced in favor of Christianity. It is more powerful than literature, churches, schools, hospitals, and all the rest. People want to be loved. They're willing to respond to love.

Years ago a little man and his wife walked into a hotel office to look for a room to spend the night. The clerk on duty said that there was no room available and so the man and his wife turned away in disappointment. The wife was sick; the man had explained that they really needed a place to rest for the night. But as they were walking out of the front door, the clerk called them back again. He said, "Listen, it's already late, and I'll just let you folks have my room tonight, and I'll just sleep here in the lobby in one of the large chairs." Well, the couple received it gratefully and went to their rest, but early the next morning the telephone rang and the owner of the hotel answered the phone. A man said, "Listen, I spent the night here last night, my wife and I and I want you to tell me who was on duty at the desk." "Well," the owner said, "His name was George Bolt, one of my clerks." This little man said, "I'm going to build the biggest hotel in the world and I want that man to be the manager of that hotel. I've been looking for years for somebody who would be kind to strangers." Yes, my friends, that man was John Jacob Aster and he actually did build that hotel in New York City and George Bolt was the manager of it for over forty years.

Now I'm not telling you that riches and prosperity will come by being kind, but I do say that great happiness will always result. To govern oneself is the greatest task we could possibly face. To learn to keep silent and exercise self-control is the great acid test of Christianity. The tongue is evil and malicious in itself. Hatred, misjudging, criticizing are easy to indulge in. The Bible rule is, "Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us." How many times we meet people who refuse to forgive others. Husbands will not forgive their wives; wives will not forgive their husbands. Be assured, friends, that we cannot be saved until we're willing to forgive. Christ taught men to be kind to their enemies and to do good to the ones who mistreated them.

The story is told of a Greek philosopher by the name of Archelaus of Masadon. One day this man was walking with a friend down the street. An enemy suddenly dumped a bucket of water over his head from a window up above as they walked along the street. Archelaus didn't even pause. He didn't even look up to see where the water came from, he just brushed it off and continued to walk and talk to his friend as he strolled along. Well, the friend was astonished and said, "Aren't you going to do anything about that? The man threw water all over you!" Archelaus answered and said, "Oh no, he didn't throw any water on me. He threw it on the man he thought I was." Oh friends, what a tremendous Christian philosophy that is! Would that all of us would be able to accept that. That's the way Jesus felt, no doubt, as the blows rained down upon Him at the cross of Calvary. He prayed for those people because they knew not what they were doing. They did not know whom they were beating. They didn't realize that they were crucifying the Son of God.

In 2 Peter 1:4 we read about the Christian privilege of partaking of the Divine nature. What does it mean, friends, to partake of the Divine nature? Well, charity begins at home, doesn't it? Love begins at home. But have you ever seen a home without love, without charity? It's the nearest thing to eternal torment that can be imagined upon this earth. We've also seen homes like that turned into places of peace and love when certain adjustments were made. We've seen one partner suddenly become calm and then we've noticed how the other one also became quiet calm as well. You know, it takes two to quarrel and fight, doesn't it? It takes two to perpetuate unkindness in a home.

A story comes from the Orient about a wife who hated her mother-in-law who had come to live with her. There was constant strain, bitterness and enmity between these two. Finally that wife consulted an old priest of her Pagan religion and said she just couldn't stand it any longer. She wanted to get rid of this mother-in-law. She asked for some powerful charm or medicine that might get rid of her mother-in-law that she hated. She asked for some poison so that she could poison her mother-in-law. Well, the old priest gave her some white powder and he said, "You give her this every day for a week. Cook it in her rice cakes and then give it very kindly to her so that she'll not be suspicious. Have her eat these rice cakes every day for a week and then come back and tell me what's happened." The woman did as she was told, and then she came back a week later in tears and said, "Oh, what can I do. I've been feeding these rice cakes to my mother-in-law and she's become very, very sweet." "Oh", she said, "I don't want to see her die now. What can I do to stop this poison from killing her?" Well the old priest smiled and said, "It's all right. I just gave you some white rice flour and she won't die at all." So you see, friends, by being kind to others, that kindness is returned to us and very, very soon we find the problem disappearing. It takes two to continue a quarrel or fight.

Years ago an old couple were celebrating their Golden Wedding Anniversary. A reporter had been sent to cover the event and in the course of the evening this reporter drew the husband to the side and asked him the secret for his long and successful marriage. The old man replied like this, he said, "Well, I was an orphan and worked hard most of my life. I never looked at a girl until I was grown and Sarah was the first one I ever kept company with. After our wedding her pa took me aside and handed me a package and said, ‘Here's all you'll need to handle Sarah.'" Well the old man continued, "This was what I found in the package" and he pulled a large gold watch out of his pocket and opened the case of it and across the face were these words -- right on the face of the watch –"Say something nice to Sarah" and so the old man said, "This had been a successful formula through the years for our happy Christian home."

Listen, husbands, that's the main thing. Wives, there's the secret. Most marriages are lost by degrees. It's not some dramatic blow-up with desertion following. It's a slow accumulation of little dissatisfactions until finally one or the other says, "I can't stand it any longer." So, don't go to sleep at night until the disagreements have been settled. By kind things instead of needling things, your home can be a little sanctuary in this world. It can be a little heaven in which to go to heaven in. Are you a commandment keeper? "Be ye kind one to another." Let that be your watchword. "Bykota" -- be ye kind to another and let love reign supreme.

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