A culture of kindness
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{source}<iframe style=”float: left; border: 1px solid #000000; background-color: #C0C0C0; padding: 2px; margin: 10px; -moz-border-radius: 3px; -khtml-border-radius: 3px; -webkit-border-radius: 3px; border-radius: 3px;” width=”400″ height=”225″ src=”https://www.youtube.com/embed/qc-UBG4Kj-E?rel=0″ frameborder=”0″ allowfullscreen></iframe>{/source}I don’t know very much about Miranda Lambert. She is married to Blake Shelton and she is a country music singer and songwriter.  I ran across a video from one of her concerts that touched my heart and I thought my readers might enjoy seeing it.  I think God made human beings with an enormous capacity for kindness.  It encourages my heart to see an act of kindness from one human being to another.  Kindness is not limited to Christian behavior but Christian behavior should be limited to kindness.

God is good, gracious and kind.  I recently taught from Hosea, Chapter 11.  Verse 2 says, “I led them with cords of human kindness, with ties of love.  To them I was like one who lifts a little child to the cheek, and I bent down to feed them.”  God was describing his great love for the people of Israel.  But Israel had come to take God’s love for granted, believing themselves to be chosen and blessed, regardless of their behavior.  But God will not bless a behavior that he is unable to bless.

Sometimes those of us who have been adopted by God need to be reminded that good fathers discipline their children when necessary.  We are loved by our perfect heavenly Father and he does not want us to darken our lives and decrease our character simply because we know we have been guaranteed a place in heaven.  Our lives should be lived in humble gratitude because of the grace we have received.  God does not tolerate our sin, he disciplines and redeems us from our sin, when we grieve and confess that sin and choose to repent of it.  Blessed are those who mourn their sin, for they will be comforted (Matthew 5:4).

Hosea 6:6 says, “For I desire mercy, not sacrifice, and acknowledgment of God rather than burnt offerings.”   Mercy is the Hebrew word hesed, meaning “loving-kindness.”  Hosea was telling Israel that it didn’t matter if they performed their ritual religious activities if they were just performing acts.  When Jesus chastised the Pharisees he called them hypocrites, which meant actors.  God knows our hearts and our actions are worthless if our motives are impure.  What has God asked us to give him?  He wants hesed, loving-kindness and he wants us to know his heart and obey his will.  

It is time we examine our spiritual motives.  Why do we go to church?  Why do we pray?  Why do we do what we do?  Are we performing religious acts or are our acts produced from the overflow of God’s love in our own souls?  

I watched the video of Miranda Lambert and saw true compassion in her heart for that child.  She was moved to tears and was unable to finish her song.  Miranda Lambert showed loving-kindness toward a child in need.  Every person you meet today needs God’s love and that love can flow through you.  I would like to challenge us to care more about acting right than proving we are right.   I would like for us to follow God’s example and lift his children up, lead them with cords of human kindness and continue to care for them consistently with ties of love.

If we want to be right with God, righteous, then we need to be right with others.  If Miranda Lambert can stop in the middle of a concert and pour compassion on a child, we can stop in the middle of our plans and schedules and do the same.  Hesed describes the characteristic that God most searches for in our lives.  Let’s create a culture of kindness in our churches, in our communities and in our personal relationships with others.  There is great power in our acts of kindness, and great blessing in leading pure, powerful lives.  God desires hesed – so should we.

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