Moments in Prayer: 2023
“The LORD appeard to us in the past, saying: ‘I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness.'” (Jeremiah 31:3)
“And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus.” (Ephesians 2:6-7)
“But when the kindness and love of God our Saviour appeared, he saved us… ” (Titus 3:4-5)
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. ” (Galatians 5:22-23)
“Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.” (Colossians 3:12)
“Do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, forbearance and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness is intended to lead you to repentance?” (Romans 2:4)
I was at the hospital recently and a woman walked past wearing a t-shirt with the words “Kindness is not in quarantine” blazoned across the front. I smiled at first and then was sobered to think of how, in these past few years, there have been many places and ways people have needed reminders to be kind to each other. We can all recall the slogan that gained notoriety during the pandemic: “Be safe. Be calm. Be kind.” Be kind. The fact that these reminders have been needed demonstrates that kindness has not been the norm of late in our culture.
In a staff meeting not long ago, we were talking about a particular young man I did not know well. My colleague was trying to describe this individual to me, and spoke of his good qualities, like how friendly he is, his soft heart and other good characteristics he exhibits. After some more descriptors, I realized which young man he was referring to and instantly felt convicted. Why? My first thoughts of this young man were unkind. I only thought of his deficits. My colleague thought of his good qualities. The conviction that came to me, was initiated by the incredible kindness my colleague showed in the way he chose to describe this person. The kindness my colleague displayed made me repent in that moment for my unkind attitudes toward that young man.
Kindness leads to repentance. That moment with my colleague made me think of that Scripture above from Romans 2, how it is God’s kindness that leads us to repentance.
God first loved us and revealed that love through the person of Jesus. God pursues us through the person of Jesus and the Spirit of God draws attention to our Lord’s kindness. When we become fully aware and alive to the depth of God’s kindness extended to us in love, how can we not turn from our own sin and respond with repentance, deep gratitude and joy? Our God is so very kind to us.
Where do we first need to receive God’s kindness for ourselves? Maybe we have hardened our hearts, so that we don’t notice his kind nudges that can lead us to an awareness of our own need for repentance.
Where do we need to extend kindness to others? How do our words, attitudes and actions reveal a lack of kindness? Kindness is both a fruit that grows in us by the Spirit of God (Gal 5:22) and also something that we can clothe ourselves with (Col 3:12). It is both a gift of God and a choice we make in how we relate to others. If we have not first experienced the kindness of God for ourselves, it will be difficult to extend it to others.
Where does your heart need to soften to the kindness of God that leads you to repentance?
How can you clothe yourself in kindness today, even as you swim against the stream of your own thoughts and attitudes and the unkind actions and words that swirl all around you?
Pray words of invitation and welcome to the Holy Spirit for your own heart:
Welcome Holy Spirit! Come and fill me today!
Welcome Holy Spirit! Overwhelm me with a new realization of the kindness of the Father extended to me in Jesus.
Welcome Holy Spirit! Soften my heart to notice nudges of kindness that lead me to repentance.
Welcome Holy Spirit! Help me to clothe myself in kindness when it is easier to say, think or do unkind things.
Pray words of invitation and welcome for the church:
Welcome Holy Spirit! Come and fill us today!
Welcome Holy Spirit! Overwhelm us with your kindness expressed to us in the person of Jesus. May your kindness so fill us that we cannot help but repent.
Welcome Holy Spirit! Grow the fruit of kindness in us – in our thoughts, in our words, in our attitudes towards others.
Welcome Holy Spirit! May we clothe ourselves in kindness in a way that invites others to experience our great Saviour.
Welcome Holy Spirit! Help us to be kind to those with different personalities, temperaments, ideas and worldviews than ours.
Connie Maier is Pastor of Outreach & Implementation at Glencairn MB Church in Kitchener, ON. She is a self-confessed book and coffee snob and a wannabe poet.