How many of you have been invited to play the game where you take the first letter of your name and find an adjective that starts with that letter AND describes you? Is there a certain adjective that you always use? How does it describe you? My name begins with a ‘K.’ What do you include for a ‘K?’ I usually add the word, ‘kind.’ How would you define the word ‘kind ‘to’ someone? Friendly? Benevolent? Nice?
When a group of young children are playing together, what phrase is often said? ‘Be nice.’ Be nice to your…friends…brother…sister…cousins…the list goes on and on. What is expected of those children to ‘be nice’ to the other children? Do you ever look at those in the world around you and wonder what it would be like if everyone treated everyone nicely? What would the world look like if we were ALL nice to EVERYONE?
What did Jesus answer in Mark 12:29-31 when asked what the greatest commandment was? “The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.”
Think about that: loving your neighbor as yourself. Think about the people in your close circle of family and friends and those that you worship with and what about the leaders in both business and government. Can you imagine what the world would be like if EVERYONE loved God will ALL of their hearts, souls, minds, and strengths? What if EVERYONE loved their neighbors as themselves?
Mistrust, envy, and hatred of others is nothing new. As Solomon shared – they is nothing new under the sun. But do we just use that as an excuse and dismiss the unkind actions of those around us – or even our own unkind actions?
Our memory passage for this week is: 30 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ 31 The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ Mark 12: 30-31. This passage is also our challenge for the week. Stop often and reflect on your own thoughts and actions. Are you demonstrating that you love God with ALL your heart, soul, mind, and strength? Not just one or two of these but all four! Secondly, when you are reflecting, ask yourself how you are showing love to your neighbor each day.
Come back on Wednesday to discuss the different types of kindness that are taught in the Scriptures.