Have you ever heard the phrase “killing with kindness” or perhaps used it yourself? This phrase in our personal experiences usually means that when we are confronted with someone who is critical, unfriendly, or unloving, we respond in an unexpected fashion with extreme love. This is performed in hopes of changing the other person’s attitude and actions.
Whereas conventional wisdom calls for killing our neighbors with kindness, a thirty-year-old guy in Santa Rosa, Florida by the name of Bryan Stewart took the idea to a whole new, literal level. According to the Pensacola News-Journal, Stewart was approached by neighbors about yelling and loud banging that emanated from his home throughout the course of a day. Stewart responded by exiting his house with an arm raised holding a machete ― which had the word “kindness” written on it. Did you get that? Kindness was the name of his machete…lol! One of the neighbors stepped in front of the other to block the blade and suffered a half-inch cut on his left hand. The Santa Rosa Sheriff’s Department eventually responded and arrested Stewart, who was booked on charges of aggravated assault, aggravated battery and assault with a deadly weapon without the intent to kill.
As Christians we are called to “kill with kindness” so to speak, but in a kinder, gentler way than our friend in Florida. Kindness is one of those words that is sometimes hard to define clearly. This is true not only in English but also in the Greek language of the original New Testament and in the Hebrew language of the original Old Testament. Essentially, kindness is tender concern for others that manifests in tangible, compassionate actions. Kindness is not simply a feeling or attitude, it involves deeds.
Why should we be people of kindness? There are two basic reasons: because God is kind and we are commanded to be just like Him. Jer. 9:24b says: “I am the LORD, who exercises kindness, justice and righteousness on earth, for in these I delight,” declares the LORD.” Eph. 4:32 says “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” Since February is the month of Valentine’s Day, there is no better time to express our loving kindness than at the present. But how do we tangibly “kill with” or express kindness to others? There are many ways, but for starters, give the following three ways a try this month:
- Accept or welcome into your life and circle of friends those who are unlike you, who are alone, struggling, and inneed of encouragement and friendship. Rom. 15:7: “Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God.”
- Share a burden with someone who needs help spiritually, physically, emotionally, relationally, financially, etc., even offering to do so with someone who dislikes you. Prov. 14:21: “He who despises his neighbor sins but blessed is he who is kind to the needy.” Gal. 6:1-2: “Brothers, if someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently. But watch yourself, or you also may be tempted. 2Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.” Luke 6:34-35: “If you lend to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you? Even ‘sinners’ lend to ‘sinners,’ expecting to be repaid in full. 35But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked.”
- Speak spiritual truth into the life of someone who is detouring away from God or into the life of someone who has no relationship with Christ at all. Eph. 4:15: “Speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ.” 1 Pet. 3:15: “Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect.”
Ok, then. Unlike our machete-wielding friend in Florida, do yourself and others an enormous favor…get out there, go on a rampage, and “kill with kindness” the Jesus way!
Your friend & pastor,