Leader to Leader, Ministry

What Happened to Kindness?

November 10, 2016 | Posted by Randy Raasch

It seems to me that our culture isn’t as kind as it once was. Road rage plagues our travel. Cable news shows pit political foes against each other, who shout at one another. Radio talk show hosts use abrasive terms to identify the people who don’t agree with them. Internet bloggers make a living by being insensitively critical.

What happened to kindness?

Unfortunately, we see the same in the life of the church. Voter’s meetings are often charged with emotion and name calling occupies the discussion. District and synod conventions are fraught with political tension and divisive attitudes. Emails and blogs are filled with less than constructive criticism.

What happened to kindness?

Older statesmen often speak of days in which politicians could respectfully disagree on the floor of debate, but share a meal and enjoy each other’s company that same evening. Older pastors speak of days in which differences of opinion could be discussed calmly and respectfully over a beer.

What happened to kindness?

Micah 6:8 is very clear in describing the life of a Christian, “He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God.

How important it is for us to remember:

  • We can disagree without being disagreeable.
  • We can talk about issues without talking about people.
  • We can open debate without opening wounds.
  • We can defend opinions without defeating relationships.
  • We can speak the truth in love.

Proverbs 21:21 reminds us, “Whoever pursues righteousness and kindness will find life, righteousness, and honor.”

So where does kindness begin? With me. I don’t have to return a harsh word. I don’t have to think the worst. I don’t have to convert disagreements into personal affronts. Instead, I get to put the best construction on things. I get to listen to others with patience. I get to respect another point of view, without having to agree with it. I get to disagree in a caring manner. I get to love others because I am loved by Christ.

What a difference when we approach life with kindness.


AUTHOR
Randy Raasch
Randy Raasch has served as pastor of First Immanuel Lutheran Church of Cedarburg, Wisconsin for 27 years. He has been an adjunct professor of theology at Concordia University Wisconsin since 1990. His personal mission statement is, I serve God by serving others.