Suspicious Kindness

It was the summer of 1983,  I was home from my 2nd year of Bible college.  I  was standing behind the counter of my father’s fast food restaurant, when a  small boy reaching his arm up, releases a fist full of coins onto the counter.   The smile on his face could melt any Dairy Queen blizzard. Raising his eyes to mine, he simply stated “A vanilla cone please.” Looking at the coins still   rolling on the counter, I knew he didn’t have enough. Taking my index finger,   I began to count the silver and a few copper. When there was none left to be   counted, the boy’s face grew very solemn. He too knew it wasn’t enough. I   reached into my pocket and pulled out a couple more coins and placed them   along side his own.

His response shocked me. With a suspicious look, he   again reached forward and began to pull his coins away. I told him, it was ok.   He now had enough. I tried to match the tone in my voice with that of the kind   gesture. With a slight pause as if struggling against his better judgment, his   smile returned, and I quickly scooped the coins away and proceeded to make him   the LARGEST ‘small’ cone I have ever made complete with a curly-Q   top.

Suspicious kindness, sad isn’t it. We often are not used   to receiving kindness, our first reaction is … pause .. question the motive   …then refusal, worried that there HAS to be something wrong, or WAIT, what   do you want in return? Our society has become so ‘ME’ oriented, that to think   then act on behalf of another with goodness takes great concentration, not to   mention ‘risk.’ For some, to be kind is a sign of ‘weakness.’     Sad.

St. Paul speaks directly to the   qualities that do NOT (notice the ‘NOT’) come naturally to us, “Therefore,   God’s chosen ones, holy and loved, put on heartfelt compassion,   kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience…” (Col. 3:12) we are not   born with them, they are a CHOICE. A day to day, moment by moment   choice. We slip our arms into the garment and wear it, we wear   HIM.

Kindness is the softer side of creation, the God in us peaking   through with love, and mercy. It is described by scholars that kindness is the   inner heart attitude of tenderness, gentleness, then goodness takes over   and acts on the heart attitude. I see it in the word picture of one   walking by a blind man, holding a charitable cup for money. The HEART sees the   man, the heart feels the man, the heart responds with God to the man, filling   his cup. Love, kindness and goodness all go together. Love sees,   kindness feels,  goodness does.  (see also: 1 Cor. 13, Gal.   5:22-23, Eph. 4:29-31)

Abraham Joshua Heschel, a   leading Jewish Theologian had this to say about kindness, “When I was young, I   used to admire intelligent people, as I grow old, I admire kind people.” TRUE   Godly kindness does not require a return on your investment. It is   self-less-ness. We see, we feel, we do.

What is   the opposite of kindness? Severity, cutting something or someone short or   quick, in that we do NOT see THEM! We do not feel them or do for them. We see,   feel, do only for ourselves. (ouch!)

May we all be challenged   to be kind beyond ourselves. Spreading some Sonshine, with wonderful   bouquets of gentleness. Remembering that WE have been bathed in   God’s kindness and goodness.  Taking an extra moment to listen. Find more   coins in our pockets, open more doors, whatever is needed at the moment. Like   the little boy with ice cream at the counter, he now has ENOUGH! God uses US   in the ‘enough’ equation.

In Him, DeDe (“Let us consider how we may spur one   another on toward love & good deeds” ~ Heb.   10:24)



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