I would like for us all to be a little bit kinder. How many of you are not kind? One person. Maybe one person here is honest. We should all be kinder, I think. We could be kinder.
There was a cosmetic company one time that wrote letters and sent all this advertising out. They wanted pictures and letters of the most beautiful woman in the United States of America. So they sent them all out and they got thousands of letters and pictures back and they got one particular one from a boy who lives in a poor neighborhood and he said this. Let me tell you about the most beautiful woman in the world. She is my neighbor just down the street. I go to her house and we played checkers. We talk and she shows me her parrot. She does all these different things. We interact together and she listens to me. She thinks I'm important. And when I leave she says I'm proud of you. So the president of the cosmetic company read this letter and he said wow. Let me look at her picture. The picture had a caption underneath it. This shows you that she is the most beautiful woman in the world. And as the president looked at the picture, he looked at a lady with no teeth, gray thin hair done up in a bun behind her head. Her skin wrinkled deeply over the years. Just a humble old lady in a wheelchair and he said, we can't choose that person as the most beautiful person in the world because that proves that our products aren't necessary to be beautiful.
Well, it is true. Mary Kay and all the various ones in Belk's and Dillards, they don't make you beautiful. Their cream doesn't do it. It's what's on the inside that counts. It really is. It's if you have Jesus in your heart. That's what makes you beautiful. Did you know that kindness is actually of like an orange or a banana. You wear it. It's the second layer of clothing that you put on. Come over here to Colossians 3:12. It says, since God chose you to be the holy people whom he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy and kindness. So mercy is the first item. Kindness is the second item. You put it on. It's clothing. Kindness is something you put on. So if you put it on that means you're in charge of being kind. You can be kinder because it's something you can put on. You can become kinder than you are. You actually can. So when you walk out that door every morning you determine to be a little bit kinder. Does that make sense? It's a choice. You can either kick the cat for pet the cat. It's your choice.
There was a young boy who had an older brother and they were at the table one day and he did the same thing that he always did. The young boy reached for the biggest piece of pie. The young boy would always reach for the biggest piece of pie and his mother said, you've got to stop that. That is not right. Why you do that? And the little boy said well I'll tell you why. Because my older brother was eating pie 4 years before i even got started and I'm trying to catch up. You know, it's easier to control people than it is to love people.
Jesus asked the most important question in the world of his disciples. He said, do you love me? And you know what his disciples answered back. Can one of us sit on the left hand and one on the right hand in your kingdom? They asked the least important question in the world. The most selfish question. What can we get out of it.
I think love and kindness are extremely important. In fact, there are three things in this life that are the most important in the world. Number one, is kindness. Number two, is kindness. Number three, kindness. We need to be kind. Treat each other with tenderness, with love, with graciousness. Don't belittle people. Treat them nicely.
At one point this winter I think all but two states here in the United States had snow in some portion of the state. Snow is something that makes the winter beautiful. We had a lot of snow. We had seven and a half inches of snow at my house one day. But I got an e-mail from Cody, way up in Minnesota. He's a member of this church and then moved to Minnesota and he showed me on the e-mail pictures of snow like you wouldn't believe. Various people have been e-mailing snow pictures and some people have snow that's 10, 12 feet deep. They have pathes that they drive to work on that are like tunnels. You can't even see out. But all the pictures that I saw made the world more beautiful when it was covered with snow. And that's like the righteousness of Jesus. It comes free. If you don't shake it off it's going to beautify you. Jesus' kindness, his righteousness in your life will make you beautiful.
Jesus made a statement. He said do unto others as you would have others do unto you. That's the Golden rule. If you really want to be kind, you will treat others as if you were the others and hope that they will treat you like that. Kindness is a language that the deaf can hear and appreciate. The blind can see and men are only great when they are kind. Money will make you successful, you probably think. And you know money will buy a fine dog but only kindness will make him wag his tail. Let's be kind.
Be kind to everybody because you never know when you're on trial who your jury is going to be, so be kind to those people. They might be there at your trial. William Penn said I expect to go through this life only once and therefore if there is any kindness that I can show or any good thing that I can do to any fellow human being, let me do it now because I will not pass this way again. We need to be kind. We need to treat everybody with kindness. It's a special thing.
Let me show you something that's in this pulpit. A can of oil. There was an elderly man who always carried a can of oil with him wherever he went. Whenever he would go into somebody's house and the door would squeak would oil it. Or if there was a rusty latch or something didn't work good or the gate wouldn't open well or the hinges wouldn't work well, he would put the oil on and it was such a blessing. He went around his community, making his community a better place. People call him eccentric, cranky, odd, other degrading names but he went around oiling the hard places of life. I think we want to be like that.
There are many people who are hurting. There are many people who are suffering. I see several of you today that have lost spouses. You've lost heavily. There are people who are hurting bad and if you can lubricate their life with the oil of kindness, then do it. They need your thoughtfulness. They need your gentleness. They need your love because that characterizes true Christian religion.
In Matthew 7:2 it makes an interesting statement. It says, with what measure you meet it shall be measured to you again. If you treat somebody else kind, how are they going to treat you? Probably they will be kind back. If you say mean things about somebody, when they get the opportunity they'll possibly retaliate. You want to be kind. Titus 3:4 makes a very interesting statement. What do you think the kindness of God is? It says here, the kindness of God, and I'm quoting, is Jesus. Jesus is the kindness of God.. He didn't send kindness in a package. He sent kindness in a person and that's Jesus. I am valuable to Jesus, because he loves me.
Kindness includes loving people who you would rather hate. You would rather despise them. You would rather, maybe, not meet them in the hallway. That's why one person said you know I've been around a long time and the older I get and the more I get to know the human race the more I love my dog. Don't repay evil for evil. You don't have to pay back a wrong that's been done to you. You can pay back with loving kindness.
I want to talk a little bit about bullying because when I was young we had some bullies in our neighborhood. We had some bullies in our school. Some people who would do mean things to us. How many of you kids are bullies? Well that's great. We don't have any bullies here in the pathfinder club. How many of you adults are bullies? We don't have any bullies in the church. That is wonderful. But I've got talk about it anyway.
I used to admire people because they were so muscular or they were so intelligent or whatever. Now I admire people in my older age because they are kind. They're kind. I admire kind people. People who use their muscles to do kind deeds. People who use their money to do kindness to others. People who use their intellect to think of kind things to do for people.
Do you know what a bully really is? A bully is an animal driven by its hormones. Animals don't have the frontal lobe in their brain. They don't have the powers of reasoning. A few animals will be kind but most animals are not. They would rather fight over a bone. They would fight over food. I admire kind people who do kind deeds. People who are not driven by their hormones. People who are not adult bullies. Who are not child bullies. Bullying is getting a high from giving somebody a low blow. That's what the devil does. The devil gets his highs in life by mistreating God's people. You don't want to be like that. I don't want to be like the devil. I want to be like Jesus. I want you to be like Jesus, so don't belittle people and say my dad is better than your dad. My mom is more beautiful. Your mom is ugly. You are ugly. This is bullying. This is belittling. This is unkind behavior. You know, you kids are bullied when you are shoved, tripped, threatened, ousted from the cliques, worn-out, gossiped about, rumored about, coerced into doing what you actually know is not right but you do it anyway.
School bullying reaches its height in the middle school. Be careful. Don't participate in it. Bullying reaches it's optimal potential in this electronic age because I have people who show me on her cell phone's messages of texting where others are belittling them. They are criticizing them. They're calling them names and you can't get back at somebody like that because they spread it among their friends. These things are not right. Posting an unflattering picture on Facebook or twitter or some of these other sites. This is not good. It's not what Jesus would have us to do. Sexting is sinful. If you're caught, by law, sexting, you can be registered as a legal sex offender. I like to get my eyes by complementing people and not belittling people. That's how we ought to do it.
I read something interesting yesterday in a magazine. If you see a 3-year old child out of control, do you ever wonder if that child is going to be successful? You ever wonder what they're going to be like? As a three-year-old child, you can tell, because of this. If that child, when it's time for dessert, will be patient and wait in line, or when it's time for something else and that child will be in control instead of out-of-control, that child will make an average of $20,000 a year more than the child who could not control its desires. That child who is out of control will be in jail. 48% of those little three-year-old children who could not be patient and could not be kind were in jail at some point in the next 30 years. This is an interesting study. It's called the Dundeen story. Kids who lash out at other kids are more likely to be overweight, drug dependant, have credit problems, have IQ problems, self control. They don't have self-control. Self-control can taught. If you have a three-year-old, teach them manners. Teach them to do right and you can change the entire course of their life. Kindness is a big thing. We all need to be kind. So let's work on that. That's something that we really need.
There was a man who went into preaching and he was a minister for seven years and he resigned. He concluded that people don't really want spiritual health. They just want to feel good. So he went back to school and became a physician. He became a doctor and after working as a doctor for seven or eight years he quit. He said I've concluded that people really don't want a doctor and he became an attorney. He said, you know people don't want spiritual health. They don't even want physical health. They just want to get even. That's his conclusion. Kindness. Let's be kind to each other. Kindness is powerful.
I want you to look at a text in Second Kings. Second Kings six. This is the story of Elisha. King Aram and his army decided to annihilate Elisha, so in Second Kings 6:8 through 23, you see the story. The enemy came. They came right in. They took Elisha and all of his people as hostage and then they were stricken with blindness. God made them all blind. So there they are. They're actually enemies who are now helpless because if you can't see you don't know how to defend yourself. You don't know where you're going or anything so they were all blind. They were under Elisha's control and his friends came up to him and said okay, we got them. Let's take care of them. And what do you think they did? Elisha was a kind person, so instead, he cooks a banquet for them. He gave them a nice meal. He treated them kindly. That would be like us inviting Bin Laden his Taliban and Al Qaeda into our gym, giving them a big feast. God makes them all blind and then we treat them nice.
When you have somebody outnumbered. When you have them outmuscled. When you have somebody under your control, treat them nice. Don't bully them. Don't get even with them.
Look at verse 22 in Second Kings six. Don't kill them he answered. And then he said this. Would you kill men you have captured with your own sword or bow. Set food and water before them so they may eat and drink and then go back to their master. So he prepared a great feast for them and after they had finished eating and drinking he sent them away. God restored their eyesight and they returned to their master and so these bands from Aram stop raiding Israel's territory. The way to get even with somebody is to pour coals of fire on their head. Kindness. Coals of warmth and love. Elisha pours the coals of kindness. The strife ceased. Peace came. If you've been treated in meanness, respond softly because the Bible says a gentle answer turns away wrath.
Let me conclude by telling a story that comes from my childhood. I almost hate to tell the story. When I was a boy we lived in Hartford City Indiana. We had some thugs, I called them in our neighborhood. They were bullies. There was a family called Whitesell family and there were a lot of them. They all lived about three blocks away from where I lived. They would have to pass our house every day. They did all kinds of things to just constantly aggravate all of us.
One day my folks took me to the five and $.10 store. They had a peashooter there. It's about that long. It's big enough to put a pea in. It's like a straw and you can put your pea or bean or something and if you blow it, it'll go a long way and if you're good at it you can hit your mark. I got good at it. I got that thing. It only cost a penny and I brought it home. I thought, this is the coolest thing, because we had all kinds of peas and beans and stuff at home. I got good at using that peashooter.
One day my folks and I and my sister went to town. I happened to have the peashooter with me. As we were driving along who should be walking alongside the road but Larry Whitesell. I happened to realize that the window was down. I just happened to have the peashooter in my hands. It just happened that it was loaded. And it happened that he was on my side of the car. So without even thinking about all the ramifications of what would later be a terrible event, I took aim and I blew my missile at Larry and it hit him. I'll never forget the look on Larry's face. He looked at me and I thought uh, oh!. I didn't think. Kindness is a good thing to do. I just didn't think at all and my mistreatment got even worse. How much better would it have been if I had treated him nicely. I've learned a lot over the years and I want to treat people nice, because they will treat you like you treat them. I've learned that. So be kind. Be kind to everybody.
Most of you have a pea shooter. It's your tongue. It can shoot out all kinds of blessings or evils. Make sure you use your tongue, your fingers in texting or keyboarding, make sure that you use your faculties to enhance somebody else's life.
Let me conclude by reading First Thessalonians. It says, make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong but always be kind to each other and to everybody else. That's special isn't it? Let's be kind. How many of you would like to have the kindness of Jesus more manifest in your life? Thank you. You're making a commitment. Let's be kinder.
Dear father in heaven. As we go through life help us to spread the oil of kindness upon people who have heavy burdens, who are creaking under loads of guilt or ill health or whatever. Bless this Pathfinder club. Bless Pam as she leads out along with her team and may each of these Pathfinders find the path to greater kindness and more Christ likeness. So bless us we ask in the precious name of Jesus Christ. Amen.
Scripture: Ephesians 4:32 Sermon Notes: Sermon notes available as PDF
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McDonald Road Sermon transcribed by Steve Foster 03/16/11