by Robert A . Schuller
father and I are going through a series of messages on Galatians
5:22, the fruit of the Spirit. The title of this series
of messages is, "Live Life
at Its Best." In order for us to live life at
its best, we have to understand the gifts that are available
to us through the Holy Spirit of God. The fruit of the Spirit,
as found in Galatians, are; love, joy, peace, patience,
kindness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self-control.
we continue this series of messages by focusing our attention
on kindness. In Ephesians 4 we read the following words,
"Be kind to one another, compassionate, forgiving
one another, as Christ has forgiven you." (Ephesians
are great words to live by. As Christ has forgiven you,
be kind to one another. What does it really mean to be kind
to one another? I believe this passage gives us a fabulous
line for understanding the kindness of God. "Be
kind to one another, compassionate and forgiving."
Kindness begins with simply having a neighborly feeling
toward everyone you meet. Treat everyone as though they're
your next door neighbor.
I think of kindness, I canˇ¦t help but think of the late
Fred Rogers of "Mr. Rogers Neighborhood" fame.
I can't imagine a human being who exemplified kindness more
than Mr. Rogers. "Pease won't you be my neighbor?"
was his line each and every program, wasn't it? The perfect
expression of kindness.
said that kindness was best defined by the following: "The
best portion of a person's life is his little, nameless,
unremembered acts of kindness and love." Isn't that
past summer my family and I traveled to Zimbabwe, Africa
as part of a missions trip. Our objective was to distribute
wheelchairs to the needy in connection with a wonderful
organization called the Wheelchair Foundation. This trip
was probably one of the most beautiful experiences of my
life. When we arrived at one remote village, a group of
about 150 individuals, none of whom could walk, were driven
to our location on a flatbed truck. When the truck stopped,
the family members of the lame began to lift each one off
the truck and basically placed them on the dirt road. One
by one they each person was lifted off, and placed onto
the dirt road.
that time I had stepped forward to help and was handed a
young man who must have weighed only 50 pounds because he
didn't have any arms or legs. He was just a torso. Then
as I looked into the eyes of this young man he smiled, and
I just didn't have the heart to simply put him on the ground
with the others. Instead, I decided to carry him to the
wheelchair that we'd brought for him, which was on the other
side of a long footbridge, about a half a mile away. By
the time I got to where the wheelchairs were I thought my
arms were going to fall off. When I finally placed him into
his new wheelchair, I'll never forget the smile he gave
to me in return. At that point language did not matter,
I felt the love flow from this simple act of kindness. Then
I turned around and I saw my two daughters following along
behind me. They couldn't put down the elderly woman they
were helping either, so they had joined arms and cradled
her in order to help her across the bridge to bring her
to her chair. Now the woman they were carrying was a leper
who basically had stubs for hands and stubs for feet and
her nose was half gone. Her skin was flaking away. As I
turned to see my daughters carrying this elderly woman across
the bridge, my eyes filled with tears of joy. My children
had seen an example to follow, and had chosen the path of
Christ calls everyone to follow His example, and we must
remember that He doesn't ask us for anything that He wouldn't
do Himself a hundred times over. "Be kind to one another, compassionate, forgiving one another as Christ has
forgiven you." Be neighborly to all. Show compassion
to the hurting. Love in action
is faith at work. The world could definitely use
a little more compassion.
recently had dinner with a man by the name of Bill Austin.
Bill Austin is at the forefront when it comes to hearing
aids. In fact, there isnˇ¦t a person of significance in
the United States who needs a hearing aid that that doesn't
have one of Bill's. From major politicians to entertainers,
if you need a hearing aid, you call Bill Austin. He is the
best. At dinner, Bill reminded me of a story he told when
he was here last year about a woman in Los Angeles that
he was fitting with an extremely expensive hearing aid.
The reason for the expense was that this particular hearing
aid completely disappears into the ear canal, and cannot
be seen. In addition, if this hearing aid does not fit absolutely
perfectly, it will not work. Well, Bill went to fit his
client with this hearing aid, when he discovered that the
instrument didn't quite fit the way he wanted it to, Bill
simply looked at his client and said, "You can't have
these, I'll have to make you another set." And with
that put them in his pocket and left.
Bill Ausin's avocation is to travel the world giving away
hearing aids to those who could never otherwise afford one.
About a month after he left Beverly Hills with those expensive
hearing aids in his pocket, Bill found himself in Mexico
fitting children with hearing aids. All of a sudden, his
father-in-law said, "Hey Bill, what should we do to
help this little girl?" Bill looked up and there stood
a little girl who didn't have any ears. All she had was
a tiny little hole where the ear should have been. Bill
simply smiled, reached into his pocket and pulled out that
very expensive hearing aid and said, "I wonder if this
one will fit." He tried it out and each one fit like
a glove. It was a miracle come true for that one little
girl who was able to hear for the first time in her life.
Nothing will take you farther in this world than a simple
act of kindness.
The third element to living out kindness in your life is
forgiveness. In the book of Romans, Paulˇ¦s letter to
the church in Rome, states,
"Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse.
Rejoice with those who rejoice, mourn with those who mourn.
Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud but be
willing to associate with people of low position and not
be conceited." (Romans 14-17)
movie, "The Passion of The Christ," has been criticized
by people as possibly being anti-Semitic. I feel for everyone
who is concerned about anti-Semitism. I can only imagine
how I would feel if my grandparents suffered under the hands
of a Nazi regime which twisted Christianity and used Christianity
as a tool with which to manipulate the masses and create
genocide. I can feel their fear. I can understand their
concern. Yet at the same time, I want everyone to hear the
message of this movie. The message of "The Passion
of The Christ" ... the life of Jesus Christ, is the
love and compassion that He has for every single one of
us. The film is not meant to point fingers at who killed
Jesus, because every human being on planet earth participated
in the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. His death was the result
of sins of humanity, and not a single one of us has been
spared. But Christ in His unbelievable, incomparable forgiveness
is showing the way, allowing Himself to be sacrificed so
that we might be saved. His example shows us how to forgive
those who donˇ¦t deserve it.
often forget that you can't throw mud without losing ground.
If you throw mud, you have less ground. You cannot accomplish
anything in life by tearing people down, by being rude,
by being inconsiderate. Kindness is the key and Jesus Christ
is our model for kindness and forgiveness. He washed the
feet of His disciples. He talked lovingly to prostitutes.
He touched the lepers. He forgave sins.
as followers of Jesus Christ, I commission every single
person listening to the sound of my voice to become one
of His disciples, become a follower of Jesus Christ and
show love, show compassion, show kindness and allow the
cross of Jesus Christ to mean something.
The Greek word for kindness is "chrestos." Sound
familiar? We immediately think of the word "Christ,"
donˇ¦t we? The reality is that both words are pronounced
identically. The word "kind" and the word "Christ"
in Greek are both pronounced identically, and are pronounced
"Cristos." So in Greek when you say that you are
"a Christian," you will also be saying, "I
am a kind person."
a result, Christians have an incredible responsibility to
be kind. What happens when we live out acts of kindness?
... it always gets paid forward. Maybe youˇ¦ve seen the
movie. Do something nice for someone and when you do, it
gets paid forward and little by little the world becomes
a better place. It becomes more Christian.
week every single person will have an opportunity ... the
door is going to open up and you will have an opportunity
to do something that is going to be more Christ-like. Maybe
it will be driving someone to a hospital, or giving somebody
$20. It may be doing something thatˇ¦s going to cost you
something. It may be inconvenience of time, energy or resources.
The challenge will be for you to step forward and do the
right thing. Youˇ¦re going to do it because of what Jesus
Christ did for you. Thatˇ¦s paying it forward. Thatˇ¦s
Heavenly Father, We thank You that You are alive today,
that You are real, and that You died on the cross so that
we might live. So we thank You for every human being who
has the willingness, the drive and the integrity to stand
with You and perform acts of kindness. Now we love You,
Lord and we praise Your name. Amen.