As parents, once kid number two, three, and four came into existence, our mantra of speaking settled in quite nicely. We all have familiar phrases that are drilled into our ever-listening captive audiences – our offspring!! In this house, the regular phrases that come out of my mouth are “pretty is as pretty does,” “it’s a sign of maturity to eat your vegetables first,” “be a blessing,” “be kind to everyone but share your heart wisely,” “how’s your heart?” and so on. Our children are getting older now, growing up way too fast for this momma and I often wonder if I’ve equipped them to live like Jesus. An ear full of little sayings won’t produce the kind of heart that loves well . . . only God can take our heart of stone and give us a heart of flesh. (from Ezekiel 11:19)
We built a sheltered life, Chad and I, for the babies God gave us. But, the sheltered life can have a tendency to create a blind life to those around us who are beaten down by this broken world. We are broken too but all too often we have the means and support to pull ourselves up while casting judgement on those who can’t, or we would argue, won’t do the same. It’s a fearful and prideful way to parent. Don’t be discouraged if you feel like you can relate because this is where sanctification comes in the middle of our pride and fear. God shows Himself shockingly kind, even to us.
I heard this phrase while attending Sunday service at a church in Dallas and it has simply knocked me over! I knew God was (is) love, He is just, He is faithful, He is our provider, He is ______________ but shockingly kind? Now that’s a description this heart craves! For it’s my heart’s desire that our children live to be kind. At Colin’s high school graduation, held in our living room, I remember reading a verse from Proverbs 19:22, a verse I wanted him to live by, to become. It read, “What’s desired of a man is kindness.”
Kindness is a supernatural virtue. It’s more than just keeping the peace or being cordial. It embodies Christ and how He interacted with people—fallen, broken, mean, hurting people. Christ’s response to the woman caught in the very act of adultery was “shocking kindness.” It was well within the Law to stone her for her sin, but Jesus showed her great mercy and a tender kindness. Kindness that brought her life out of the pit and into a real existence, that’s the supernatural nature of kindness. A power that can change the trajectory of a life. And where were her accusers? Gone. One by one, from oldest to youngest, rocks on the ground . . . gone (John 7 & 8). Can’t you just imagine that in the quiet of her accuser’s hearts, some came to know the real freedom in Christ because they had witnessed His kindness to the lowly, undeserving adulterous women? I believe God’s character of kindness is powerful enough to change a woman living in a broken lifestyle while at the same time changing the self-righteous rock throwing accusers. He is just that kind and we are just that valuable to Him! Shocking, isn’t it, but all together wonderful, and I’m so grateful!! Because I’ve been both, the woman living in sin and the self-righteous rock thrower. We all have. Can we be shockingly kind so that the world might have a view of the Father’s unimaginable love? We can, because nothing is impossible with Christ, not even shocking kindness.
We homeschooled our kids for years but as of last year everyone has joined the public-school ranks!! This has left me home in a very quiet house and I’ve turned to podcast listening. Ask any of my friends, I’m almost obsessed with listening to Bible teaching pastors on the daily. I recently listened to a pastor speaking on God’s kindness and he stated, “As Americans, our greatest apologetic is kindness.” WOW! So much truth and power in that statement . . . and I believe it – kindness is supernatural and unexplainable! Kindness is unexpected and can give room for the Gospel. In all our spheres of influence, the shocking kindness of Christ modeled in our sanctified lives opens opportunity for relationship, compassion, mercy and humility. I want more kindness, but to get this supernatural virtue I need more of Jesus. Let’s be honest—the very process of sanctification is shockingly kind.
Who needs your kindness today? Your family does, future generations of your family will benefit spiritually from the kindness you show those in your home today. I’ll close with lyrics from a new favorite song called “So Will I” by Hillsong. Listen as these words describe the ultimate shocking kindness of God and let His unforgettable, undeserved kindness create in you a heart like His.
God of salvation
You chased down my heart
Through all of my failure and pride
On a hill You created
The light of the world
Abandoned in darkness to die
And as You speak
A hundred billion failures disappear
Where You lost Your life so I could find it here
If You left the grave behind You so will I
I can see Your heart in everything You’ve done
Every part designed in a work of art called love
If You gladly chose surrender so will I
I can see Your heart
Eight billion different ways
Every precious one
A child You died to save
If You gave Your life to love them so will I