IF the following character quality could be miraculously distributed to all 7 billion people on earth, it would instantly and permanently transform man’s history going forward, revolutionize their present experience, and release their future potential.
It would extinguish wars, lawsuits and fights before they started. Lawyers, police, soldiers, politicians, psychiatrists and mental health professionals would be obsolete remnants of a bygone era.
Weapons, locks, keys, walls, safes, national borders and defense departments would become redundant. Jails, prisons, courthouses and armories could be repurposed into open-air flower shops.
So, what is this mysterious character quality?
The Apostle Paul described what it looks like brilliantly: Christlikeness.
As written in Philippians 2:1-4, “Therefore, if there is any encouragement in Christ, if any consolation of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and compassion, make my joy complete by being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose. Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility consider one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.”
The character quality in question is what I am calling, “Radical Kindness.” As the scripture passage above reveals, Radical Kindess’ source is Christ Himself as manifested exclusively through the indwelling Holy Spirit.
Radical Kindness never puts on a sappy, milquetoast, emotional display. Instead, it springs spontaneously from a humble heart and “considers others as more important than itself.”
We could NEVER manufacture such a thing on our own. We are too self-absorbed, and occupied with “getting, getting, getting” to even be willing to live a life of “giving, giving, giving.”
For that to happen, it must come from outside us entirely. Radical Kindness requires divine “horsepower,” the kind Christ exhibited throughout His life.
And that brings us to “the rub” …
So why don’t we just do it? Why is it such a rare commodity, even among the most religious people?
Because we have forgotten where we came from. We have lost — if we ever had it — an appreciation for how spiritually down-and-out we were and how much it took for God to lift us out of our self-induced mire. He paid with His own blood to purchase us out of the slave market of sin.
So, Christian, never forget where you came from — your roots, your origins, your spiritual pedigree. Look back and remember, as written in Ephesians 2:3, when we, “too all previously lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the rest.”
And then after conversion, there is a tendency to become overconfident. We can start believing our own spiritual “press clippings,” and start strutting around looking down on the unwashed heathen all around us. That holier-than-thou air of superiority is hardly conducive to being humble and kind to others.
We must soberly remind ourselves that it was not us, “… but God, (Who) being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our wrongdoings, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus …” as outlined in Ephesians 2:4-6.
God took that “sow’s ear” of a former life and miraculously transformed it into a “silk purse” through His Holy Spirit. Once we have internalized that bit of unsettling news, then we are ready to, as noted in Ephesians 4:32, “Be kind to one another, compassionate, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.”
Christians have been getting a bad rap lately in the media for being judgmental and mean toward those who don’t believe exactly like them. This is not entirely undeserved. There is nothing quite as damaging to the cause of Christ than well-meaning but misinformed believers going around beating people over the head with their five-pound chain-reference study Bibles.
We are not talking about compromising our beliefs, it is our behavior that needs improvement — saturated with Radical Kindness.
Can you imagine Jesus behaving that way when He walked this earth?
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.”
— Galatians 5:22
How About You?
We may not be able to wave a magic wand and change all 7 billion people in the world overnight, but how about doing it one heart at a time, starting with you and me?