by Christina Rose
So, chosen by God for this new life of love, dress in the wardrobe God picked out for you: compassion, kindness, humility, quiet strength, discipline. Be even-tempered, content with second place, quick to forgive an offense. Forgive as quickly and completely as the Master forgave you. And regardless of what else you put on, wear love. It’s your basic, all-purpose garment. Never be without it. Colossians 3:12-14 MSG
After my commute on the ferry across the San Francisco Bay, I waited for the next streetcar that would take me up Market Street to my law firm. A block away I could see a woman running towards me, waving and smiling as if she knew me. Who could that be? As the streetcar arrived, we both boarded, and the woman took a seat across from me. She was still panting after racing down the street yet gave me a big smile. I then recalled I had complimented her on her beautiful coat the week before. She had remembered me for this simple act which seemed like a little thing to me, yet it appeared big to her. Little acts of kindness can make someone’s day.
In Jesus’ day, lepers were shunned by society. His act of kindness in healing a leper broke societal rules by touching the untouchable. Jesus gave the man a new life of love where he was completely restored, redeemed, and free to embrace his loved ones.
When he came down from the mountain, great crowds followed him. And behold, a leper came to him and knelt before him, saying, “Lord, if you will, you can make me clean.” And Jesus stretched out his hand and touched him, saying, “I will; be clean.” And immediately his leprosy was cleansed. Matthew 8:1-3 ESV
The tax collectors were hated outcasts, as they were Rome’s henchmen who often added a surcharge that they kept for themselves. When the tax collector Zacchaeus heard that Jesus would be passing by, he scaled a tree hoping to see him. He may have felt a need for something greater than the money he had based his life upon, and Jesus may have sensed this need.
When Jesus came by, he looked up at Zacchaeus and called him by name. “Zacchaeus!” he said. “Quick, come down! I must be a guest in your home today.” Luke 19:5 NLT.
The crowds thought it scandalous that Jesus chose to go to a sinner’s home, but it was just another act of Jesus’ kindness to spend time with the rejected. Zacchaeus was so honored that he offered to give half of his possessions to the poor and give back four times as much to anyone he had taken too much from.
The woman with the long-suffering issue of blood thought if she could only touch Jesus’ hem she would be healed; she pressed through the crowds to touch his hem. Rather than reprimand her for touching him, Jesus responded in kindness and called her “daughter” as a term of endearment (Matthew 5:34).
When my daughters were in school our lives were a nonstop whirlwind of sports, practices and tournaments. When I wasn’t working or doing laundry, I spent long hours on the sidelines watching the games. One day it occurred to me to serve by offering to sit next to whoever needed someone to talk to. From then on, before each event, I would say a silent prayer and then wait for God’s prompting of who I should sit next to. Most of the time they were strangers I had never met.
There is a need in our everyday lives for acts of kindness. When we see the world as our family rather than strangers, it is easy to reach out and touch lives. We must dress in the garments of love that God picked out for us and never be without them. When we live God’s way he will richly bless us as we choose to be a blessing to others.
But what happens when we live God’s way? He brings gifts into our lives, much the same way that fruit appears in an orchard—things like affection for others, exuberance about life, and serenity. We develop a willingness to stick with things, a sense of compassion in the heart, and a conviction that a basic holiness permeates things and people. We find ourselves involved in loyal commitments, not needing to force our way in life, able to marshal and direct our energies wisely. Galatians 5:22-24 MSG
This article is brought to you by the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association (AWSA).
About the author: Christina Rose is an author, trainer, and speaker certified by the John Maxwell Team of Leadership. She is a DAR (Daughter of the American Revolution) whose ancestors fought in the Revolutionary War. She is a world traveler, surfer, foodie, cappuccino- loving chocoholic and a devoted mom to kids and dogs, as well as auntie to many nieces and nephews who live around the world.
Christina’s book, My Appeal to Heaven, is her story. With her young family on the verge of falling apart, Christina finds herself in a desperate situation with no resources other than herself. After appealing to heaven, the Lord takes her on a journey of awakening, redemption and restoration. Christina hopes her story will encourage others who are in need of hope and freedom.
Join the conversation: What opportunity have you been given to show love recently?