The life of kindness is not living to be accepted. It’s living to be obedient. The way of kindness is self-exposing and hazardous. It compels me to open up to people I would otherwise avoid because of their different beliefs or social norms. If we are kind simply to receive kindness back, then our kindness will wither when it gets the stiff arm or even the fist. If our kindness goes in just one direction and does not expect to be returned, then our kindness won’t recoil at rejection. Then we are obeying Christ, who called us to be receivable and never promised us we’d be received. Living to be received focuses on how others respond to us. This is narcissism, and it’s beyond our control. Living to be receivable focuses on how we open in new and sometimes uncomfortable ways for others to receive us, whether they choose to or not. This is kindness, and it’s within our control
I am looking at kindness in a whole new way after reading this book. I was somewhat put off at the start as he claimed that Christians need to be known more for what they are for than what they are against. My thinking on this statement is what Christians are against many times reflect what they are for. However, towards the end of this study on kindness he revisited that claim and was more forth coming that in expressing the “what we are for” builds bridges rather than walls. Kindness builds bridges and if you are building walls, than your kindness needs to be re-evaluated.
Each 13 Chapters reveals a “way of kindness” that is intentional, not passive, engaging, and most of all life changing that is transforming. However, it is the Holy Spirit that changes but it is in kindness that we allow the Spirit to work in our own hearts and those that we come into contact with. Barry Corey learned of kindness by his own father who thru out the study, shares how his father’s kindness influenced him and lead him to be intentional about kindness. He shares his journey and how the gift of kindness has led him to God himself.
What does kindness look like that leads us to repentance? “Or do you presume on the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance? Romans 2:4. It is a kindness that is void of affirmation and pride. Many times I think I have been kind when my kindness has been rooted by my desire for affirmation and my lack of kindness has been pride.
Is grace pitted against truth? Kindness leads us to grace that ultimately leads us to the truth which Corey expressed quite well. It can be difficult to discuss a topic such as kindness and have healthy balance of truth and grace but with the gospel and our need for the gospel always at the forefront it becomes possible. I was very much encouraged with this great kindness.
A Special Thank You to Tyndale House Publishers and Netgalley for the ARC and the opportunity to post an honest review.