BRADY COLUMN: Kindness Makes the Coffee

Published 10:30 am Thursday, August 18, 2022

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If anybody had a case not to be kind, it was the biblical character, Joseph. His brothers treated him like dirt and sold him into slavery. This action by his brothers, resulted in practically everything going wrong in his life for the next 30 years. What happened next? He was falsely accused of commuting adultery and thrown in prison. But later, as you recall, Joseph’s fortune reversed and he became second in command over all Egypt.  Then came the day that Joseph’s father, Jacob, had died and his brothers knelt before him. To be sure, these brothers were fearful, and they had every reason to be. But Joseph, rather than being vindictive, spoke kindly to them.  The scripture says, “In this way he reassured them, speaking kindly to them.” (Genesis 50:21).

What is kindness? Simply stated, kindness is described as love in action. It is those things we do. In the original language, the word for kindness carried an added idea and refers to an act of grace-refers to a deed or person who’s “useful, serviceable, adapted to its purpose.”  The apostle Paul said, “Love is kind.” “The fruit of the Spirit is kindness.” In this article, I’d like to focus on kindness. It is so needed in our culture today,

First! kindness is of divine origin! Why are we to be kind? First and foremost we are to be kind because of God’s special kindness to us.  Paul says in Ephesians, “For by grace (God’s kindness) you have been saved through faith” (Ephesians 2:8).  The truth is, it is God’s kindness toward us that produces our gratitude and enables our kindness toward others.

Second, kindness is all inclusive!

Not to long ago while waiting for a light to change, I saw one of those old bumper stickers. It said, “Keep on honking, I’m reloading.” To say the least, that thought does not sound very kind.  Friends, our fractured, violent, mistrusting world is literally begging for kind neighbors-for people willing to show some compassion.  As people of faith, our kindness should be of such quality that it embraces all of life-pets, livestock, shrubs, trees, flowers, the forests, lakes, rivers and all the resources of earth entrusted to our care, And, of course, it should include our fellow human beings, especially our fellow human beings.

Third, kindness is a choice! There is s cartoon in which Charlie Brown is talking on the phone to a girl who says, “Hey Chuck, guess what I’m running for? I’m running for the queen of the Day at our school.”  Charlie Brown says, “That’s very interesting, Lucy has already been chosen at our school,”  The girl on the phone responds, “Your school has pretty low standards, huh Chuck.”

After Charlie hangs up the phone, he looks at Lucy and says, “She says, ‘Congratulations.’” Now, that’s diplomacy. That’s kindness and that’s our choice.

Fourth, kindness makes the coffee! Kindness is absolutely essential to the life of faith. “Love is kind,” said Paul. Kindness is essential to God, to others and to ourselves. Much of God’s good work in the world is accomplished through mercy and kindness.  But to be kind takes time, lots of time.

Understand that the main enemy of kindness is busyness. Kindness is not to be done in a flippant way. I repeat, kindness is time-consuming, taking up time we might spend on ourselves. It takes time to visit people, to do little favors, to listen, to run errands for others, to bear someone’s burdens, to pray for others, to think of ways we can brighten the lives of others. Kindness does indeed make the coffee.

I close with the words of William Penn, “I expect to pass through this life but once, If therefore, there be any kindness I can show, or any good thing I can do to any fellow being let me do it now and not defer or neglect it, as I shall not pass this way again.”