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The kindness "family" of qualities

October 15, 2022
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Daily Scripture

Colossians 3:12-13

12 Therefore, as God’s choice, holy and loved, put on compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. 13 Be tolerant with each other and, if someone has a complaint against anyone, forgive each other. As the Lord forgave you, so also forgive each other.

 

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Daily Reflection & Prayer

Nowhere in Scripture will you find, “Treat your neighbors with kindness, unless their beliefs differ from yours.” Implicit in Paul’s instructions was the understanding that we are to treat all people with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. We are, in fact, to love all people. Yes, this becomes more complicated when people’s fundamental beliefs are not the same as yours, especially if they do not treat you in these ways. Rather than looking at this as a problem and trying to “fix” them, Paul said (cf. especially in Romans 14:1-15:7) that gives us a way to love extravagantly, working to find unity in unexpected places. In today’s world, we have the chance to do that in digital spaces as well as in the more personal settings Paul no doubt had in mind.

  • Paul wrote in Romans 14:19, “So let’s strive for the things that bring peace and the things that build each other up.” Why is this harder when people’s beliefs are different than yours? What is one concrete thing you can do this week that builds up another person, especially a person with whom you differ? What principles can guide you in deciding when loving your neighbor is more valuable than winning an argument? John Wesley, Methodism’s founder, said in a sermon titled “A Catholic Spirit,” “Even though a difference in opinions or modes of worship may prevent an entire external union, yet need it prevent our union in affection? Though we cannot think alike, may we not love alike? May we not be of one heart, though we are not of one opinion? Without doubt, we may.” * How did Paul’s teachings in today’s passages shape Wesley’s theology? Is there someone in your life with whom you do not think alike, yet you need to love alike?
Prayer

Lord Jesus, give me clarity about my daily need for your forgiving, empowering grace to nurture and grow me. And grow me into a person who makes kindness and forgiveness central to my rhythm of life. Amen.

GPS Insights

Picture of  Patrick McLaughlin

Patrick McLaughlin

Patrick is the Community Pastor at Resurrection Downtown.

I’ve always been a bit of a performer and I’ve rarely been the best or worst at anything among my peers. As a member of the marching band, a sports team, or staff, I always want to contribute positively. I learned early on that putting on confidence was a key to increasing my value.

The reality is that I often have more to offer than I believe. Another familiar way to put it is, “fake it until you make it.” Putting on confidence has also helped me improve, because a loud mistake is noticed and can be corrected! I literally earned a “Blow hard” award in college for the volume at which I was willing to play mistakes on my trombone. I took the award with an appropriate amount of humor, then humbly went back to the woodshed to practice.

As I’ve grown older, performing my faith has become more important in my daily life. My old “fake it” saying has shifted to align more closely with John Wesley’s words–“Preach faith until you have faith.” The word faith can be substituted with any of these words from Paul to the Colossians—Compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience.

To be honest, these don’t always come naturally to me, just like confidence. That can be frustrating because it is not the person I want to be, especially when I withhold them from those closest to me. So, when they aren’t coming naturally, I remember that these are spiritual gifts that require nurturing. Paul tells us to put them on like clothes. And like clothes, it is ok if they are a temporary choice rather than something that might make me feel permanently forced into vulnerability. My experience in being married, in being a father, and in being a neighbor, is that as I more consistently choose to put them on, I learn how to be appropriately vulnerable.

I’m still working on not being a retaliatory driver, and I find my calm when I remember I’ve done the same or worse to other drivers. Either way, I rest better at night knowing that I am a loved child of God, even closer to holiness when I choose a smile and a wave…with all my fingers.

© 2024 Resurrection: A United Methodist Church. All Rights Reserved.
Scripture quotations are taken from The Common English Bible ©2011. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
References

* To read Wesley’s entire sermon, “A Catholic Spirit” edited into modern English, click here.