Thursday, April 23, 2009

Kindness Vs Envy

Once more we explore another virtue God expects us to have as a part of our character. Today we will look at kindness and how the vice of envy functions at the opposite end of it. Let's jump right in.

Everyone likes a kind person, right? So why aren't we kind all the time?

Maybe it because for some unknown reason we equate kindness with weakness. If we are kind then we must also be weak and powerless. No one likes to think of themselves as weak and powerless, that puts them in a vulnerable position.

Good news! The Greek word for kindness is chrestotes which has nothing to do with weakness or lack of conviction; it means instead the tender concern for others. It is the genuine desire of the believer to treat others gently just as the Lord treats us.

I would also like to look at the virtue of kindness from a different angle than normally thought of. I would like to look at it from the side that causes someone to be satisfied. The angle which causes us to have charity and compassion in our heart. As a friend with sympathy for the benefit of not our own but for the sake of the one who needs our kindness.

What I mean is when we put our own agenda aside and reach out in kindness not to get but to give to another. The kind of gesture that has no personal agenda behind it. Maybe it even requires a sacrifice on our part. Are we willing to be that kind to others?

II Samuel 2:5-6 - So David sent messengers to the men of Jabesh Gilead, and said to them, "You are blessed of the Lord, for you have shown this kindness to you lord, to Saul, and have buried him. And now may the Lord show kindness and truth to you. I also will repay you this kindness, because you have done this thing."

David got word that King Saul was dead. This is the same man who had pursued him relentlessly in order to kill him. Instead of brutal deeds and words, David, the new King, instead commends those who showed kindness to Saul and buried him. The response by both was unusual to say the least. First the men of Jabesh Gilead had shown respect to the King after his death and buried him unlike what conquerors usually did. Second, David who received nothing close to kindness repays the men who buried him with kindness. Then he shows Saul himself with the respect due a King.

Psalm 117:2 For His merciful kindness is great toward us, and the truth of the Lord endures forever.

Ephesians 4:32 and be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.

Proverbs 31:26 She opens her mouth with wisdom, and on her tongue is the law of kindness.

God himself was mercifully kind to us. In his kindness he gave us an eternity to be with him with one stipulation. That one stipulation is we accept the gift of salvation that was offered through the death of Jesus Christ. He did not have to give us this gift nor does he have to continually extend acceptance and forgiveness. But again and again, over and over He forgives us and gently shows us mercy. In return, the same kindness we receive, we should extend to others. Be kind to one-another, tender-hearted and forgiving just as we received when Christ forgave us. When we open our mouth to speak to someone does the tongue cut or heal another? Are the words and actions we show others full of kindness or poison?

Job 5:2 for wrath kills a foolish man, and envy slays a simple one.

Proverbs 14:30 A sound heart is life to the body, but envy is rottenness to the bones.

I Corinthians 13:4 love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, it is not puffed up

James 3:16 For where envy and self-seeking exists, confusion and every evil thing are there.

When we exhibit poison instead of kindness it comes out in envy and self-seeking behavior. As we see in scripture, neither edifies us. Envy slays us; it is considered rottenness to the bones. This terminology means it cuts to the core of who we are and corrupts us from within. It does not have anything to do with love, quite the opposite. It parades itself, it’s puffed up and James tells us every evil thing is there with it.

I believe the bible shows us the devastation that comes when kindness is left to travel to its vice. We become envy filled, self-seeking, puffed up, ego driven, fleshly people. As a believer, it is far from what is desirable.

Isaiah 54:10 "For the mountains shall depart and the hills be removed, but My kindness shall not depart from you, nor shall My covenant of peace be removed." Says the Lord, who has mercy on you.

The Lord who has abounding mercy says His kindness shall not depart from us. Not now, not tomorrow, not when we die, not ever! His kindness is everlastingly ours. With that truth, how can we not put forth the effort to show the same to others?

4 comments:

Warren Baldwin said...

Very good article. We can't teach enough about envy ... it is one of the truly insidious and destructive manifestations of evil. It was for envy that evil men killed Jesus. This is one thing we need to always search to identify in our hearts.

I linked here from another site. You write good stuff.

.www.viewfromaroom.wordpress.com said...

Hi! Sherri,

Tomorrow, i'm speaking at my Church about 'the fathers business' and the implication of this, your website name has been most helpful.After reading your 'blog name' a few times it occured to me that this is a great ideal, but at the same time hard to live out longterm, now this is not a criticism of your site, but more a passing observation. Our language is still steeped in modernity and dualism, we have a tendency to catergorize things, eg: spiritual, non- spiritual, and even worse; saved, non-saved, etc, i'm sure you are familiar with this thinking.

So whats my point? My point it this; Hebrew spirituality(lets face it he was a jew)sees things differently, rather than hellinstic thinking, where things are viewed in 'black and white' absolutes, Judiasm sees life as a compleat picture a 'whole' now I think( and i could be wrong here) that God is much bigger than a single page ideal, what happens if we dont live up to this ideal? have we now failed? and is God limited to me living or failing to live out this ideal? I find these ideals almost impossible to live out in the longterm.Hebrew spirituality has its focus almost exclusively on what is possible from Gods perspective.

its not dependend on my 'surrendering fully to Christ' and how do we know when we have 'fully' surrendered? is there someway of measuring it? A wholistic view (unfortunatly the new age have taken this word hostage!)is not concerned with measuring things, its sees Christ as the centre, this is called 'centered set' things that can only be measured are 'bounded set' Sherri, this in no way is a criticism of you, or your website, but an observation, please feel free to respond.You have a great website, truth be told, i'm a little envious, its my prayer that you may continue to do amazing things.

Finally, holistic thinking has its emphasis more on that of direction; eg: is my life drawn to the centre or away from it? this in real terms, is much harder to measure, and it also takes the pressure of me, to live up to difficult ideals.

Ps: I live in Australia, i will be a regular to your site, keep up the great work, Godbless you and you family.

Kind Regards Bob Garbett

Matt @ The Church of No People said...

Great lesson - simple to learn, but a lifetime to master. It's so often that I want to forego kindness in order to indulge my own feelings of jealousy against another person. We are so quick to compare ourselves to people who have it better than we do, and not people who don't.

Sherri Watt said...

Thanks everyone for your comments.

Bob,

I understand some of where you are coming from but I believe the major point to God is not whether we live up to his ideals but that we put our faith where it belongs. The jewish law was given to prove that we could not live up to the ideals that were expected from God. Which is exactly why we needed a savior in the first place. We will never completely live up to the ideals recommended by Christ but we must try to live as much of a surrendered life as possible. Failing often of course, but God expects that because of our human condition. We are not going to live perfect this side of heaven but we can certainly live each day trying to do as He would direct without feeling condemned when we fail. As it says in Romans 8:1 There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.

God Bless You and thanks for the comment!