Today, I would like to speak to you again about "One Another. "
There was shepherd, a kindly old gentleman, who had a flock of sheep. He saw his neighbor's dog kill another one of his sheep. Now, what would you do? There were several options that the shepherd had. He could build a fence. It would be very expensive. He could get his shotgun out and take care of the problem. He could go to an attorney. But an idea came to his kind heart. He gave two little lambs to his neighbor's little girl. And he noticed his neighbor suddenly began tying up his dog.
There are several ways to solve problems, and I want you to look at Ephesians 4, which was our scripture reading, and the launching pad for today's sermon. Ephesians 4:32. It says, Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. You should forgive each other. You should be kind to each other.
The word Kindness is derived from the word Kinship. Kin means kind. Kind, kindness, that we would treat one another as kinfolk. We should treat our kinfolk kindly, shouldn't we?
So, how do you show kindness?
William Penn said this: "I expect to pass through life but once. If, therefore, there be any kindness I can show, or any good thing I can do to any fellow being, let me do it now, for I shall not pass this way again." This is great, isn't it! That is the kind of people we ought to be. God is even kind to the wicked and ungrateful. See Luke 6:35. God is kind to everybody. God helps thousands who will never know the true source from which their blessings flow, but he still helps them anyway. He's kind to everybody, even the wicked. Real generosity is doing something for somebody whom you know cannot pay it back.1
Kindness is that spiritual grace which flows from the heart of a true Christian. A church deacon was instructing a young man in the details of his job. And as he concluded, he said, "And remember, my boy, that we have nothing but good kind Christians in this church until you try to seat someone else in their pew." Christians! We ought to be the kindest, shouldn't we? We ought not be out here making people mad at us. Making people upset. It is not our duty to be the official sheriff on the church grounds. Our job is to be kind.
There is an interesting text in 2 Samuel 22. It speaks of God in a particular way. 2 Samuel 22:36. The New International Version speaks of God this way: . . .You stoop down [speaking of God] to make me great. That's why God stoops down. Can you picture the God of the universe stooping down to make you great? Isn't that awesome! His intentions are so wonderful! That's the kind of a God we have.
The King James says it this way: Thy gentleness hath made me great. God is great enough to be gentle. And I will tell you that you can't be gentle unless you are strong. Only the strong can be gentle. Would you agree with that? How about you? Are you gentle? Are you a gentleman? Are you a gentle woman? We have the phrase for the men, gentlemen. What do we have for the lady? A gentle woman? A gentle lady? Ladies are all gentle. We don't even have to have a phrase for that.
Gentleness is sort of like a trained animal you might see at a circus. There is a man in a cage, with all these wild beasts. The man is insane for getting in there. You observe those lions, those tigers and you will see that meekness is actually strength that is under control by the master, the trainer. Gentleness is true power. When you've got the power and you can control that power, you are awesome. But if you go through your house yelling and screeching at the kids and kicking the cat, basically you are proving to them that you are weak. That you are not strong. That you are out of control.
I want to show you that kindness can change people. Look at Romans in your Bible. Here is a great power. Kindness is one of the most powerful agents for change in the entire world. Romans 2:4 says, Do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, tolerance and patience, not realizing that God's kindness leads you toward repentance? God's kindness can change you. It has power for change.
A teenage girl was not getting along with her mother. That's kind of a rare circumstance, you know. Teenage girls I guess do that sometimes. When she came home from school she would go straight to her room and hole up in her room to avoid having to have contact with her mother. But, her mother was brave and adventuresome and would come right into her room and say, "Sweetheart, are you hungry? Would you like for me to make you a sandwich?" Well, yeah." "So, what kind would you like?" And she would go and cook up a delicious sandwich and bring it in for her daughter, and say, "I love you and I hope you enjoy it." This happened time and time again. Finally the daughter left home and started her life. Many years later their relationship good. It became warm and loving. The girl could not get over the daily display of love and kindness. She told her mother, "The sandwiches showed me what kind of a person you are. I didn't love you, and you kept making sandwiches. You kept showing your love for me." And I will tell you that your constant kindness, your constant love for one another will change a bad situation into a good situation.
Kindness consists in loving people that are unlovable. Loving people more than they deserve to be loved.2 George Washington Carver said, "How far you go in life depends on your being tender with the young, compassionate with the aged, sympathetic with the striving, and tolerant of the weak and the strong. Because someday in life you will have been all of these."
Kindness is sort of like a boomerang. At the 1995 meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science the results of a study were revealed. Researchers gave 44 doctors the symptoms of a hypothetical patient and asked for each doctor's diagnosis. The researchers gave half of the doctors a bag of very good candy saying it was a small token of appreciation for their involvement in the study. The other half of the doctors received nothing. Alice Isen, a Cornell University psychologist said the doctors receiving the candy were far more likely to correctly diagnose the illness. So, the next time you go to the doctor, give him some candy! Kindness is like a boomerang. Kindness is God's formula to make a cold world a little bit warmer. It would make the world work a little bit better.
Let's look at Romans 11:22. Here's another interesting verse. It says Consider therefore the kindness and sternness of God: sternness to those who fell, but kindness to you, provided that you continue in His kindness. Otherwise, you also will be cut off. God has two sides. He will be kind to you for years and years, and finally His patience will run down.
You may be sorry that you spoke. You may be sorry you stayed or went. Sorry that you won or lost, Perhaps, sorry that so much was spent. But as you go through life, you will find You are never sorry that you were kind.
Err on that side. You are actually best to yourself when you are kind to somebody else. A kindly spirit without a touch of censoriousness or harshness highly recommends true religion.
Now here is a little gem for you. The next time that your child or your husband or your wife does something bad don't explode. So often when somebody does something bad, it lights our fuse and we just explode ad we do bad things. Don't explode at your kids! But now, listen to this. The next time they do something right (Do your kids ever do something right? Does your husband ever do something right? Yes they do!) Next time they do something right, then light the fuse and explode. Make the explosion last 60 seconds one whole minute. And during that minute praise them for what they did that was right. Tell them how much you appreciate it. And your kindness will change their life for more and far faster than your explosion of anger will benefit them. So, go ahead and explode if they do something right, and pour it on, and make it last for a full minute. That's a heap better than yelling and becoming angry.
In Ephesians 4:32 we also see the kindness includes forgiveness. Because the text says, Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ, God forgave you. So we are to forgive one another. And you can only be forgiving, and truly forgiving, if you have experienced forgiveness yourself. God's forgiveness is the pattern for your forgiveness.
I enjoy making models in my workshop at home. I make little models of steam engines. You know, a model is patterned after the original. I follow blueprints when I make my models. When I forgive another person, my forgiveness is patterned after the blueprint, after the Original, modeled after God's forgiveness.
Ephesians 4:32 implies that, well there are several implications of this verse. It says, Forgiving each other, just as in Christ, God forgives you. Do you know what that implies?
What is God's forgiveness like?
A mother once came to President Abraham Lincoln, begging that he would pardon her son who was doomed to die for something he had done. And Abraham Lincoln listened to her appeal and he did pardon her son. After leaving him, as she passed through a corridor, she exclaimed to Thaddeus Stevens, who accompanied her, "I knew it was a lie!" When Stevens asked what she was referring to, she replied with vehemence, "Why, they told me he was an ugly looking man, but he is the handsomest man I ever saw in my life because he forgave my son." You know, forgiveness makes you look better in other's sight.
The Source of forgiveness is kindness. If you have a kind heart, you can forgive somebody. And the degree that we are actually kind dictates the depth of which our forgiveness will come from. Like Jesus, will we be able to forgive. Colossians 3 amplifies Ephesians 4:32. So come over to Colossians 3:12-14, Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. We're supposed to wear clothes made out of those. We're supposed to clothe ourselves in kindness. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. Isn't that a beautiful passage? That is just special. Kindness is what we need. Clothe yourself in kindness.
A Yale University President some years ago gave some good advice to a former president of Ohio State University, "Always be kind to your "A" and "B" students. Someday one of them will return to your campus as a good professor. And also be kind to your "C" students. Someday one of them will return and build a two million dollar science laboratory."
Kindness toward one another is a great thing. Try it! Look at Philippians 2:4. It says, Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. Your job in life is not to just take care of yourself, but to take care of one another. A boy found his mother sitting at the table with an elderly tramp one day. Apparently she had gone shopping, met this hobo along the way, and invited him home for a warm meal. The tramp said, "I wish there were more people like you in the world." The boy's mother replied, "Oh, there are, you just have to look for them." The old man said, "But, lady, I didn't need to look for you. You came looking for me." And that is what true kindness is. That models the kindness of God. That mother did what Jesus does for all of us. In fact, Jesus comes and looks for the unlovely. That is what we are to do. True Christians are to look out for others. Be kind like Jesus is kind.
Look at 1 Peter. Here is some more wisdom. The Bible is full of this. This is the tread that runs through the whole Bible. 1 Peter 3:8.9 says, Finally, all of you, live in harmony with one another; be sympathetic, love as brothers, be compassionate and humble. Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult, but with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing.
There was a train filled with tired people. Most of them had spent the day traveling through the hot dusty plains and at last evening had come and it began to get cooler. Everybody was ready for bed. They all tried to settle down to get some sound sleep. However, at one end of the car a man was holding a tiny baby and as night came on the baby became restless and cantankerous and cried and cried and cried. It seemed that it could not stop crying. Unable to take it any longer, a big brawny man spoke for the rest of the group. "Why don't you take that baby to its mother?" There was a moment's pause and then came the reply. "I'm sorry. I'm doin' my best. The baby's mother is in her casket in the baggage car ahead."
There was an awful silence for a moment. Then finally the big man who had asked the cruel question got out of his seat and moved toward the young father. He apologized for his impatience and his unkind remark. He took the baby into his own arms and said, "You get some rest, I'm going to care for your baby all night long for you." And he did.
A few years back in Seattle they were having a Special Olympics. There were nine runners lined up for the 100 yard dash. The gun fired and they all took off running. But one runner stumbled and fell and hurt himself. The boy began to cry. And the other eight could hear him crying, and they slowed down and they looked back. They all stopped, turned around, and came back to the boy who had fallen. All of the kids were disabled mentally or physically. A girl with Down's Syndrome bent down and kissed the fallen runner and said, "That will make it better." And then all nine linked their arms together and walked 100 yards to the finish line. The crowd applauded for a long time.
Kindness. Sometimes kindness is shown by people who need kindness by people like that. Down deep inside everyone of us human beings knows one thing: that what matters in life is not winning for ourselves, but helping others to win. What truly matters is helping somebody else along the journey of life, even if you must slow down and change your course. Even if it will cost you something. We are at our best when we show true Kindness to somebody else. Look around your town. See if there is anybody you can be kind to. And it will help you.
Come and look at 1 Corinthians 10:24. Nobody should seek his own good, but the good of others. Isn't that amazing? Nobody should seek his own good, but instead should seek the good of others. That is worth underlining. Isn't that a great text? You should seek the good of others.
There was a man be the name of Mr. Lee who worked at a trucking depot that overlooked coal yard. There was a high fence between the yard and the railroad tracks. And Mr. Lee often noticed that the owner of the coal yard would go out into his coal yard and throw chunks of coal over the fence after each train came by. What strange behavior! The coal yard man explained. He said, "Well, there is a poor elderly lady that lives across the street. Each time a freight train comes by she comes out and picks up the coal that has fallen from the tender behind the locomotives. Her eyesight is failing and she doesn't realize that diesels have replaced the steam locomotives. And so I throw some pieces of coal over the fence to help her out." That is kindness.
Look at Proverbs 11. Is Kindness really a boomerang? Proverbs 11:17 says, A kind man benefits himself. If you are kind to others, it's a boomerang. It all comes back! Somebody said, "Well, I used to have a boomerang and I threw it out. It never came back, so I don't have it anymore." If you throw out the boomerang of kindness it really benefits you. It all comes back. So be kind, be like Jesus.
1. Frank A Clark.
2. Joseph Faubert.
3. Matthew 18:21,22.
Hymn of Praise: #30, Holy God, We Praise Your Name
Scripture: Ephesians 4:29-32
Hymn of Response: #350, Blest Be the Tie That Binds
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last updated April 24, 2005 by Bob Beckett and Eric Koester.