Christianity is radically other-centered

Let’s talk about kindness. We don’t do that enough. Kindness is love in action. It’s not a feeling.  It is something you do.  When you’re kind you take action, you move, you’re practical, you show love in a practical way.

The ministry of kindness is for every single follower of Christ.  It is interesting to me that in Matthew 25, Jesus says that at the judgment, the one thing you’ll be judged for is how you treated other people.  “I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink.  I was naked and you clothed me.  I was sick and in prison and you visited me.”  How we treated other people.  What we’re talking about is not some minor issue; it is the heart of Christianity.  Love in action

The Bible says, “In response to all God has done for us, let us outdo each other in being helpful and kind to each other…” (Hebrews 10:24) I don’t know a more counter culture statement than that right there.  In a society that is absolutely self-centered where the whole issue is “What’s in it for me? I’m too busy to care about anybody else’s problem or need.  I’ve got my agenda, my goals, my needs, my desires — forget the rest of the world.”  God says, in light of what He’s done for us, “let us outdo each other in showing kindness and love.”

Who could you be kind to this week?  At home, at school, at work, a neighbor you don’t even like, an enemy, a boss… Where could you show kindness?  God has placed all kinds of opportunities before you to demonstrate love in action.  Just open your eyes.  Just look around you.  There are people all around you with obvious needs who are waiting to be helped by you, because you’ve been helped by God. 

Years ago, the great famous bishop, Fulton Sheen, went to the southern part of Africa and he was visiting a leprosy colony and as he leaned down to talk to a man who had just a little loin cloth around him, laying on the ground, his body was eaten alive from leprosy also with many sores from other diseases, open running soars.  Fulton Sheen leaned down to talk to this man and as he did the chain around his neck on which there was a cross, broke and the cross fell into an open soar on the man’s leg.  Fulton Sheen said, “I was just kind of repulsed by the whole picture, image of it.”  Then he said, “All of a sudden I was filled with compassion, with kindness.  I reached into that soar and I took up the cross.” 

I don’t know a finer definition of what it means to be a Christian.  God wants you to go out this week in the market place of the world where people are hurting and bleeding emotionally and physically and mentally and spiritually, where people are hurting with obvious open wounds, and he wants you to take up the cross—whatever it takes.  The whole business of Christianity is healing broken messed up lives.  If there is nothing in your life that has to do with any of that, you might want to question your Christianity. You really do. Christianity is not about just me feeling good and making my life easy, but it is radically other-centered.

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