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Ted Haggard always used to talk about how some churches make happy people sad and turn nice people mean. Two churches in the same town could come from the same denomination and have the same doctrinal statement but one is small and full of tension and the other is full of people and life. I’m tempted to blow this next sentence up to about 120 in terms of font size so we don’t gloss by it… It’s not about doctrine, those who have been with Jesus don’t emerge with correct information about him, they emerge with his loving heart. The church is missing the mark in a huge way on this point.

I’ve already elaborated on one of five kinds of kindness – 1) Reciprocating Kindness. Here are four more for your consideration.

2. Random Kindness – Jesus was indiscriminate with his love. I know he was strategic, but I’m not sure everything he did was calculated. Do you calculate how many kisses you’ll give your spouse today? Probably not. They just happen and they happen more the more your heart is full of Jesus’ love for people. This kind of kindness is the most fun. It’s a blast randomly blessing people. And you’ll discover it’s really not fully “random” as God so often will sovereignly see to it that you “touch” someone who desperately needs love and encouragement today. Be careful of favoritism, especially the trap of being nice only to those who believe just like you.

3. Radical (or Ridiculous) Kindness – I also thought to use the word wreck-less because so often we are timid and miserly with our kindness. It’s as if we are bringing someone a small gift in our really nice car – we don’t want to scratch the car now do we? Radical kindness gives them the car and walks home. It’s about being willing to go out of your way and gladly letting the needs of others inconvenience you. Radical kindness is costly. Is it said of you that you are EXTREME-ly kind?

4. Rabid Kindness – I’m trying hard to keep the “r’s” going so I know “rabid” falls a bit short. But I’m trying to express a contagious kindness. In the presence of kindness, more kindness comes forth and soon an environment is saturated with Jesus’ love. But somebody has to start it off. Parents who are negative and nasty toward others produce kids of the same nature. The opposite is also true. I believe we are responsible for the environment around us, to see that it’s salted with kindness.

5. Real Kindness – Kindness is like a round peg in a round hole. It fits and feels right all the way around. However, when we come at people with insincerity, its evident and obvious on each end. I’ve had to reflect on this one more than the others because I want to say even if you don’t feel it in you to be kind, fake it. But that is disingenuous. So here’s a better way… don’t fake it, force it. Force yourself to repress your nasty nature and let the nature of Christ in you to come forth.

And here’s a key to being REAL-ly kind – eye contact is a connecting point for real kindness. Pulling off the interstate last week I rolled up to an old man with a cardboard sign. The kindness of Jesus came over me and I rolled down the window to hand him a $20. He reached out to grab it and I held the bill for a moment which caused him to look up and make eye contact with me. I let the love flow through my eyes for a moment and then told him the source of that love. He stepped closer to my car door, got teary, discovered trying to say something to me his voice choked out, and so he just hugged my entire arm. Somehow the eye contact thing communicated to him that God sees him and loves him. It was an interesting moment. Perhaps I’m making too much of this but I really had the sense that deliverance power was present in that moment and had I taken a few more moments the fullness of God’s love and power would have come on the unsuspecting brother.

Imagine the brother getting laid out in the Spirit right there beside the road, people would have thought it was a drive-by shooting…. and I guess it would have been a drive-by of sorts!

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I’ve been reflecting on kindness for a couple weeks – it’s a rare thing to find on the internet especially. Although I’m posting this on the internet, my real aim is to stir up more kindness in the Body of Christ – in our church, in your church.

A few of us have been talking about how so few of us reciprocate kindness. You know what I’m talking about… we invite people over, they never invite us over. We call them, they don’t call us. I believe kindness is a form of mercy and the Bible teaches that we can stop the flow of mercy if we don’t share it ourselves. Kindness that comes to you must quickly flow through you. We kill it when we keep it. It has a short shelf life.

To reciprocate means to return in kind or degree. I’ve been thinking of the reasons we don’t reciprocate kindness. I hope you can add to my list and that you’ll be brutally honest…

1. We are too busy or tired, or we assume they are (Are you giving off a vibe that you are too busy for somebody? Maybe it’s like the pretty girl who never gets asked out on a date. Maybe people are incorrectly assuming your social calendar is already full and so they don’t call you. I struggle with the flip side of this – fatigue – how many more people can I call? Really, I’ve answered 50 emails since my kids left for their two week internship a week ago last Sunday, and yet I haven’t emailed them. If we can’t meet our family commitments, how can we do anything more for others?

2. We are embarrassed to have people in our home – too messy? Or, we don’t have the money.

3. We’ve been hurt or rejected before

4. We possess a sense of entitlement, others are there to bless us.

5. We don’t want to open the door to one who needs more from us than we are willing/able to give.

6. We are unaware of what we have to offer

7. We are irritated by other aspects of those being kind to us.

If you are one who has extended yourself to others and kindness has not been reciprocated back to you, how do you keep from being offended?

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