Reading 2 – Sabbath, December 7, 2019
“Love Is Kind”
By Elijah Zwane, South Africa / Madagascar
“Charity suffereth long, and is kind;…” 1 Corinthians 13:4.
What is love?
In the world today many things have been said about love, and much has been done in the name of love. Unfortunately, it has often been mistaken for infatuation among the young, lust among adults, and jealousy among partners. “Love is a plant of heavenly origin.
It is not unreasonable; it is not blind. It is pure and holy. But the passion of the natural heart is another thing altogether. While pure love will take God into all its plans and will be in perfect harmony with the Spirit of God, passion will be headstrong, rash, unreasonable, defiant of all restraint, and will make the object of its choice an idol.” –Mind, Character, and Personality, vol. 1, p. 212.
Love is kind
According to 1 Corinthians chapter 13, love has many attributes. Let us look at one of them–kindness. As an adjective, “kind” means having or showing a sympathetic, friendly, or generous and considerate nature.
“We love Him, because He first loved us.” 1 John 4:19.
In the Spirit of prophecy, we read how the law of kindness was put into action by God to save fallen men. God could have destroyed the disobedient pair and created new human beings who would be obedient to His law. But because of His sympathy, He revealed a plan that was established before the foundations of the earth were made.
“The whole family of Adam must die. I saw the lovely Jesus and beheld an expression of sympathy and sorrow upon His countenance. Soon I saw Him approach the exceeding bright light which enshrouded the Father. Said my accompanying angel, He is in close converse with His Father…. Three times He was shut in by the glorious light about the Father, and the third time He came from the Father, His person could be seen…. He then made known to the angelic host that a way of escape had been made for lost man.” –Early Writings, p.149.
Only love coming from the heart of God would save fallen man from his helpless condition. In the Garden of Gethsemane, Christ chose to drink the bitter cup rather than to go back to His Father and leave the sinner in the abyss of sin. On Calvary’s cross, while the soldiers were driving their cruel nails into His hands and feet, it was this love that motivated the Saviour to plead, “Father forgive them; for they know not what they do.” Luke 23:34.
Kindness in the family
“Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.” Proverbs 4:23.
The heart of society is the family. If we want healthy congregations and sound societies, we must start with the family. How do we deal with each other? Do we show the same spirit of kindness to our families as we do to those with whom we associate outside the family circle? Some people are saints at their work place but fiends at home. If the members of the families thirst for such kindness at home, they will surely find it somewhere. A lack of kindness in families leads to cracks that grow until marriages and family ties are shattered. Is this not also the reason why the church loses many young people to the world? In a quest to find these attributes, they drift away from God and find themselves in dangerous relationships.
After the prodigal son lost every- thing, he remembered the love and kind- ness in his father’s house. He made the decision to save his life and went back to his father.
“The home is a school where all may learn how they are to act in the church. When all are members of the royal family, there will be true politeness in the home life. Each member of the family will seek to make it pleasant for every other member. The angels of God, who minister to those who shall be heirs of salvation, will help you to make your family a model of the heavenly family.
“Let there be peace in the home, and there will be peace in the church. This precious experience brought into the church will be the means of creating a kindly affection one for another.” –Manuscript Releases, vol. 19, pp. 68,69 (1903).
I remember the story of a young girl who kept saying to her rich, busy mother, “Please, Mom. I need at least an inch of your love and time from your busy schedule.” In response to this kind plea, the mother became annoyed and slapped her daughter. To everyone’s surprise and amazement, the girl with a smile and tears in her eyes exclaimed, “At least today I got a touch from my mother!”
Kindness among church members
“A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.” John 13:34.
Besides loving one another as Christ has loved us, we need to treat each other as we would have Christ deal with us. When we are overtaken by a fault, how long does Christ take to pardon us? Is that the same amount of time we take to forgive others? The law of kindness is, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you!”
What spirit do we show to people who are under attack by Satan? Do we show them sympathy? Do we show them the spirit of kindness so they may acknowledge their wrong and want to return to the fold? How many souls who were once members of the body of Christ no longer come to church? Do we welcome them and show them the same spirit of kindness that the father showed to his prodigal son, or do we show them the cold spirit of the elder brother by exhibiting a “holier than thou” attitude?
“A glance, a word, even an into nation of the voice, may be vital with falsehood, sinking like a barbed arrow into some heart, inflicting an incurable wound. Thus a doubt, a reproach, may be cast upon one by whom God would accomplish a good work, and his influence is blighted, his usefulness destroyed. Among some species of animals, if one of their number is wounded and falls, he is at once set upon and torn in pieces by his fellows.” –Testimonies for the Church, vol. 5, p.59 Are we better than they?
“But the difficulty lies with the individual members of the church, and it is here that the cure must be wrought. Jesus bids the accuser first cast the beam out of his own eye, renounce his censorious spirit, confess and forsake his own sin, before trying to correct others….
“Not until you feel that you could sacrifice your own self-dignity, and even lay down your life in order to save an erring brother, have you cast the beam out of your own eye so that you are prepared to help your brother. Then you can approach him and touch his heart. No one has ever been reclaimed from a wrong position by censure and reproach; but many have thus been driven from Christ and led to seal their hearts against conviction. A tender spirit, a gentle, winning deportment, may save the erring and hide a multitude of sins. The revelation of Christ in your own character will have a transforming power upon all with whom you come in contact.” –Thoughts from the Mount of Blessing, pp. 127-129.
How is it possible to have such kind love?
“Love is of God…. The unconse- crated heart cannot originate, or produce, this plant of heavenly origin, which, in order to flourish, must be watered constantly with the dew of heaven. It can flourish only in the heart where Christ reigns. This love cannot live and flourish without action; and it cannot act without increasing in fervency, and extending and diffusing its nature to others.” – Testimonies for the Church, vol. 2, p.551.
This kind of love is from God alone. It is able to dwell only in the heart where Christ reigns. For it to flourish, one needs to be a co-worker with Christ for the salvation of souls. Such a person will find joy in seeing the lost return and walk in the blood-stained path. His love will be unconditional and kind to those for whom Christ died.
My dear brothers and sisters, let us open our hearts for Christ to live in us through his Holy Spirit. The best sermon ever preached is not in the pulpit or through the knowledge of the Scriptures; it is in the lives we live and our attitudes toward others. When people realize that we care, they will be convinced and take a stand on the Lord’s side. May God help us in this Week of Prayer to start the New Year with the right attitude of kindness before it is too late. This is my wish and prayer in Jesus’ name. Amen