"Judge a man by his questions rather than by his answers." - VoltairE

The Kindness Instinct

Posted by Anne Witton on Tuesday, November 27, 2018 Under: Reflections


When something annoying happens, what response comes instinctively to you? I often find that I start the day with the right intentions to be godly in everything I do and then someone cuts me up in the car, or I get stuck behind a slow pedestrian or behind a pensioner trying to pay by cheque in a shop and immediately the grump is unleashed. I’m often ashamed of the first word that pops into my head when I bash my shins on the bath.

The truth is that my instinctive and impulsive responses are often not what I’d like. I really want to be more like Jesus. He didn’t lose his temper with the crowds or see people as obstacles getting in his way. He had time for the annoying, broken and difficult people (and aren’t we all annoying, broken and difficult at times?). I decided that I need to pray for my irritable instincts to be replaced by the kindness instinct. I want to instinctively look upon others with grace and immediately put their needs above my own. I want to look upon each person as someone loved by Jesus, not just when I’ve had time to pray and reflect, but right in the heat of the moment when they’re elbowing me out of the way or short-changing me.

The only way to break the cycle of unkindness, retaliation and hard-heartedness in this world is to live a radically different live that’s full of Jesus’ loving kindness. We need to rise above the desire to get our own back (whether someone has deliberately wronged us or just irritated us in some way).

I’m spending a lot of time in the Sermon on the Mount at the moment and finding it profoundly challenging. It’s a manifesto for how Christians are to live, not to earn God’s approval, but because we’re freely saved by his grace and filled with his Spirit so that we can live by this. Amazing! As I’m going through, I’m praying that God will give me the kindness instinct so that I can develop the sort of Christian character that automatically seeks to bless people.

“You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’ But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also. And if anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, hand over your coat as well. If anyone forces you to go one mile, go with them two miles. Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.

“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbour and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven.”
Matthew 5: 38 - 45a



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