Love Your City: How Kindness Changes the World

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Jesus walked through this world creatively demonstrating the love of His Father, the power of the Holy Spirit and the game-changing beauty of the Kingdom of God.  When He came into a locale, a household or an individual’s life, everything changed.  In Romans 2:4, Paul writes that God’s “kindness leads you to repentance.” 

The Greek word for “kindness,” which is used repeatedly across the New Testament, is the word “chréstotés” which means “useful kindness” or “meeting real needs, in God’s way and in God’s timing.” A fruit of the Holy Spirit, this kindness is “the Spirit-produced goodness which meets the need and avoids human harshness or cruelty.”  The Greek translators write, “We have no term that quite carries this notion of kind and good.

If human beings were capable of perfect faith with no assistance there would have been no need for the incarnation, Father sending His Son, Jesus, to come and “pitch His tent among us.”  After the Fall, though, humans were left spiritually dead and without the capacity to perceive God.  God immediately began pursuing our lifeless hearts, using burning bushes, angels, His own audible voice, fire and more to draw us back home.  His pursuit  reached its apex as He expressed His great love for the world by sending Jesus.  Jesus’s life and ministry were a window for blinded humans into the wonders of this Triune God and His Kingdom. He made it impossible to be missed.

It is easy to think of proclaiming the Gospel as preaching alone.  There certainly is a time for saying what needs to be said, speaking irresistable words into a person’s heart, showing them how God loves them and can save them.  But more and more in this age of pragmatic post-moderns, we have to go beyond telling to showing.  Jesus did this by kind, life-changing actions that built relationships with people.  He didn’t just feed them and leave it at that or heal their physical malady and walk away.  He used the physical need that humans could not miss to get at the spiritual need that was actually killing them. He helped them where they were to open their hearts to where they really needed to go.

He did this creatively.  Dynamically.  Ingeniously.  Entrepreneurially.  And we, as His Church, are called to allow Him to keep doing the same through our own lives.  Imagine the stories we could be telling if we would allow Him to lead us out of self-referential, scarcity-driven lives?  Imagine if we allowed ourselves to be lifted out of the Christian ghetto of “just enough for church” to walk into the “life of love” we are made for?  Click the image above for one story of how an afternoon taxi drive for a father and son led to an entire slum being lifted out of poverty.

Now go and be kind in the power of the Holy Spirit and watch the world be “turned upside down.”

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