OnFire Encouragement Letter
OnFire #272 Rusty Hinges and Kindness
We live in a 70 year-old-house with lots of character, which simply means there are lots of things which need to be fixed. A few weeks ago I realized that I had become so accustomed to the creaky hinges that I could actually recognize the sound of each door. The bathroom made one noise, our bedroom another, and each of the bedrooms made their own distinct sounds. It astonished me, first of all, that I had become so used to this, and second, that it took me until now to do something about it. And, that it was such a simple thing to oil the hinges. Such a little thing - a few drops of oil and a few minutes, and the doors were swinging silently.
We can be like those hinges. Sometimes we get a little creaky, and we don’t even realize it, but kindness is the oil on the hinges of our relationships. It doesn’t take much, and a little goes a long way.
Scripture is littered with reminders to be kind. “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” (Ephesians 4:32)
From this and other passages we see that kindness means to love each other, show compassion, and even extend forgiveness. Our motivation ought to be gratitude: that we are kind because we realize that God was kind to us.
The word for “kind” in Greek is an interesting one, and it shows up in interesting places:
“For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:30)
The word translated as “easy” is actually the same word for kind. We could read, “My yoke is *kind.*” The yoke was a wooden beam placed across the shoulders of work animals so that they could pull an implement behind like a cart or plow. It had to be carved and formed with care or it would chafe and cut. Jesus promised to be kind and to do the heavy spiritual pulling in our lives.
This helps us understand kindness better. Kindness is about easing the burden in other people’s lives. When people come away from us, are they lighter or heavier in spirit? Do we chafe them, rubbing them the wrong way, or do we treat them “easily” ? Kindness is more than an act. It is our mannerism, the words and tone we use, the words we don’t use, our patience, how well we listen.
As I prepared this material for a sermon I preached last week, I began to see that some of my relationships had grown a little creaky. I needed to apply a little oil of kindness. It doesn’t take much time, and a little goes a long way.
I hope this helps. Be on fire.
OnFire is a bi-weekly letter on faith and character written by Troy Dennis. Troy is the Pastor of Family Ministries at Highfield Baptist Church, Moncton NB Canada. This letter published Jan 20, 2012. To subscribe or reply, email firstname.lastname@example.org. Archives are located at www.onfireletter.com. Blog located at www.onfireletter.blogspot.com.