August 10, 2018

A Life of Kindness
Scripture: Ephesians 4
31Put away from you all bitterness and wrath and anger and wrangling and slander, together with all malice, 32and be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ has forgiven you.

Ephesians is a letter to a group of churches in what as now Turkey. This letter, as all of the “Epistles” are, is in response to a letter to Paul (or a disciple) about problems they were having in these churches. This response sounds as if it was written about problems that we have today. The basic question is, “what do we do about anger, lies, and injustice?”

The advice in this letter is as appropriate today as it was when the letter was written. We are to seek justice, be merciful by practicing forgiveness, and to be humble in our actions realizing that whatever
we have, either material or spiritual gifts, comes from God. And for this we are thankful. In phrases of today, “we are to perform random acts of kindness” and “pay it forward”. In living our lives in this way, the way that Christ has taught us, we build up healthy communities. We
build up rather than tear down. We practice humility rather than self-promotion. We look outward to the needs of others, not just inward to our own needs or wants. We use our gifts for the benefit of all,
not just ourselves. We speak words of truth with love and kindness. We settle our differences in private, not dragging them into the public arena. Rather than living lives filled with anger, resentment
and grudges, we instead practice, forgiveness, mercy, and justice.
In living our lives in these ways, we bring the kingdom of God closer to being until that day when Jesus returns to fully establish his kingdom forever and ever. Amen.

Prayer: Gentle and loving God, fill each of us with a spirit of kindness so that we might speak the truth in love. Help us to encourage one another to follow Christ in our daily lives, to act with kindness and forgiveness, and to share one another’s burdens as we await the return of Jesus. May we live humbly and gratefully each and every day performing acts of kindness and love as the opportunities arise.