Activating Love 2 - Kindness - David Mitts
When I was a child, I used to speak like a child, think like a child, reason like a child; when I became a man, I did away with childish things. For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face; now I know in part, but then I will know fully just as I also have been fully known. (1Co 13:11-12)
This second more mature heart condition is rooted and motivated by love. Unfortunately for many of us, we get stuck in fear responses, or triggers, and respond out of the possibility of pain or the need for pleasure, which we often call our “needs”, and don’t mature into living out of love. As we spoke of before, this fear-centered thinking breeds failure in our lives. It isn’t just that we fear failure but the fear because it is antithetical to the adult success world based on trust and agreement binds us to thinking in our heart that sabotages true surrender and success by trying to keep us “safe” or “happy” in the child state.
Love is our God-state. We are called to live and see life through the eyes of love and love is the power for the fulfillment of our calling or destiny in life. Love is more than a heart attitude, like, “be loving”, it is spiritual power that “never fails”. Since love releases God into a situation, anti-love and specifically fear based thinking and beliefs inhibit God in life situations.
The Scriptures tell us:
And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him. (Heb 11:6)
For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision means anything, but faith working through love. (Gal 5:6)
So we can see how God’s Love nature is brought into our lives when we activate love!
God is patient. When He revealed Himself in His Glory to Moses He spoke of Himself:
This is God’s Glory as He defines it. He is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in lovingkindness, which is the Hebrew word Chesed. We’ll look at Chesed in a moment but notice slow to anger. That is an expression of patience. Can you feel it?
Israel and by extension, the grafted-in Believers, are called to “show His Glory” or live in love and have love living through us. The first step is patience.
Today we are going to go to the next step, which is kindness. Love is kind.
The Kindness of God’s Love is summed up in this Hebrew word Chesed. Chesed is one of the Hebrew “fence” words. The letter Chet which begins the fence words is the picture of a fence. A fence is an agency of separation and protection. Chesed is the protection that comes from love. The Samech or second letter means a thorn or support. So kindness or Chesed supports. Finally, the Dalet is the picture of a doorway or an entrance. So combining these, chesed or kindness is the power of love that protects, supports and opens up the heart.
Chesed is often translated as lovingkindness. This is an attempt, in English to convey the feeling of a kindness that is activated by love and is a quality of the heart that loves.
We have a fund designation in ministry which we call “benevolence fund”. What does that mean to you?
This is a difficult scripture for those of us, myself included who have been in the system of fear, we call the world. In fear based reality, it would be the fear of consequences for my sin that would lead me to repentance. In the fear based system, I see myself through the eyes of sin and failure and need God to rescue me from the outcomes.
Now, I am not denying the truth of all of that. Fear wouldn’t work as a system if it didn’t contain truth. But the greater truth is that it is God’s love that draws me not my fear. It is the riches of His kindness, His benevolence, realizing that I desperately need His love that draws me.
This produces an entirely different “salvation”. I personally think, my opinion, that fear based salvation which is primarily about how my sin has separated me from God and will lead me to Hell eternally, while an expression of truth, leads to superficial salvation.
Let me give an analogy. If I am a criminal facing a life sentence and you pardon me I am free but is my heart changed to a non-criminal heart who wants to do good things?
Are we operating in a fear paradigm about what people around us do? In fear, all we do is based on performance. How we treat others is viewed through the filter of our performance. If they perform well they are a threat to our performance. If they perform poorly, our fear based performance orientation drives us to judge them as lazy or somehow committed to their own destruction through bad choices. We become their judge so quickly. Anger swells in our being, a self-righteousness.
Or are we operating in a love paradigm which means we are kind, benevolent? How would we want to be treated in our failings? How do we succeed? Is it through fear of through love? Love, kindness, benevolence touches the heart of the one who is treated this way.
When I feel your love then I am free to make mistakes, to learn and to get better. Your kindness frees my heart from control. Your love frees me to be my best.
When we remember that Love is Kind, then kindness or benevolence becomes the outward proof of an inward reality. Love is patient, which we looked at last week in an internal reality. Love is kind is an inward reality expressed in actions that we could call benevolent acts.
I want you to think back to your own salvation. What benevolent actions did you experience that drew you to repentance? Who was kind to you when you didn’t expect it?
What new actions can you take that can show kindness to them this week?
Are you willing to do those actions and show them His love and draw them to repentance?