Love is Kind

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

I Corinthians 13:4-7

In this entire familiar passage

I had never noticed that love is equated with only two words

Patience and kindness

All the other descriptions of love are things that it isn’t

Or things that love does

But only two words are used to describe what it IS

And both are also Fruits of the Spirit

Love, patience, and kindness

The Oxford dictionary defines kindness as

The quality of being friendly, generous, and considerate

Friendly like the Mennonite teenagers in their pressed cotton dresses this morning

Smiling as they handed us a bag of cherries and our change

Generous like my in-laws graciously inviting my parents to the cottage

Delighting in preparing it for our arrival

Considerate like my son mowing the lawn

My daughter pausing her Lego project to help bring in groceries

It is easy to be kind to a stranger

Someone you will not see again

It is easy to be kind to family

At least on the good days when the sun is shining

And everyone is getting along

When what is being asked is not too difficult

Only it isn’t always easy to be kind

Most things of great value are not easy

When a loved one is sick and grouchy

And takes it out on a caregiver

It isn’t easy to be kind

When a coworker says an unkind word

Speaking out of their own frustration

It is easier to respond IN kind than to BE kind.

When a teenager is selfish

And sometimes they just are

Even the best of them

It isn’t easy to be kind.

Yet in those glorious moments

When you are pretty unlovable

When you are the grouchy one

The lazy one

Even the rude or angry one

When someone responds in grace and kindness

It is like the sun sparkling off waves

The delicate and vibrant perfection of a tiger lily

A beauty so raw it makes the soul ache

To be unlovable and yet be shown love

Is mercy wrapped in grace

But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Romans 5:8

Set aside self

The desire for retribution and vindication

Set aside regret and the need to be right

And choose instead what is better

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

Matthew 11:28-30

It is true that we do not know what sorrows

Another is carrying

Even those who are closest to us can be bearing burdens

Beyond what they can bear

For God did not promise we would not carry such burdens

Only that His burden would be light

And that he would carry what we could not

And nothing is too hard for him to bear

The choice to be kind is day by day and moment by moment

It is not dependent on another’s worthiness

If it were easy

It would not be so glorious

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