I wrote this for an Upward devo this year. Thought I’d share it here.
Romans 2:4 New Living Translation
4 Don’t you realize how patient he is being with you? Or don’t you care? Can’t you see that he has been waiting all this time without punishing you, to give you time to turn from your sin? His kindness is meant to lead you to repentance.
When our kids were younger, it seemed like every other sentence out of our mouths were ‘was that kind?’ Something happens inside the mind of a two year old that seems to completely push out any sense of kindness. From taking toys to disobedience to throwing fits there is nothing kind about the terrible twos.
Every parent will go through that chaos at some point in their parenting career – how to deal with unkind little people. In fact, I am guessing it is not just parents who have to deal with unkind, little people. It’s a shame that we can’t just send them all to their rooms.
So how do you deal with unkindness? I’ve seen people try to guilt others into more kindness. I’ve seen people be more unkind to others in response to their unkindness. Of course, all that does is make the other person be more unkind than what they originally were. It’s a vicious cycle.
It’s not a huge surprise that Jesus knew exactly how to deal with unkind people.
Show them kindness.
It seems a bit odd, maybe even counter-intuitive. But it’s the only thing that works. When Jesus set out to destroy the great evil of sin and death, he defeated it with an even greater love and grace. It’s the only thing that could defeat it instead of propagating it more.
This is not only how he dealt with sin and death, it’s how he deals with us. He is kind and gentle with us because he knows it will best lead us to repentance and life change. And when we trust Jesus, he puts more of this kindness and grace in us.
Armed with this knowledge and relationship, I can now deal with unkind, little people. I can show them kindness and grace knowing it will win out eventually.
Even in my own heart.