Colossians 3:12-17 (NLT)
12 Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. 13 Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. 14 Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony. 15 And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts. For as members of one body you are called to live in peace. And always be thankful.
16 Let the message about Christ, in all its richness, fill your lives. Teach and counsel each other with all the wisdom he gives. Sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs to God with thankful hearts. 17 And whatever you do or say, do it as a representative of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through him to God the Father.
Matthew 24:30-35 (NLT)
30 And then at last, the sign that the Son of Man is coming will appear in the heavens, and there will be deep mourning among all the peoples of the earth. And they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. 31 And he will send out his angels with the mighty blast of a trumpet, and they will gather his chosen ones from all over the world—from the farthest ends of the earth and heaven.
32 “Now learn a lesson from the fig tree. When its branches bud and its leaves begin to sprout, you know that summer is near. 33 In the same way, when you see all these things, you can know his return is very near, right at the door. 34 I tell you the truth, this generation will not pass from the scene until all these things take place. 35 Heaven and earth will disappear, but my words will never disappear.
In these days of uncertainty about rules and regulations, wondering what tier we’re in and whether we can meet with family and friends, work colleagues or school mates or whether Zoom will yet again gain from our custom, it can put a strain on our lives and particularly on our mental health. In the garden centre we are still getting customers for whom this is their first trip out since March. Indeed, my dad, who, at 98 is living on his own has only left his house for an occasional stroll around his cul-de-sac, or to be taken to hospital and doctor appointments.
In reflecting on this, have come across two pieces in the last couple of days. One is about being kind to ourselves and the other about being kind to others. The first is called “WISE COMMANDMENTS”.
Thou shall not worry; for worry is the most unproductive of all human activities.
Thou shall not be fearful; for most of the things we fear never come to pass.
Thou shall not cross bridges before you come to them; for no one yet has succeeded in accomplishing this.
Thou shall face each problem as it comes; you can only handle one at a time anyway.
Thou shall not take problems to bed with you; for they make for very poor bedfellows.
Thou shall not try to relive yesterday (for good or ill), it is forever gone; concentrate on what is happening in your life and be content now.
Thou shall be a good listener; for only when you listen do you hear different ideas from your own. (It’s hard to learn something new when you’re always talking.)
Thou shall not become “bogged down” by frustration; for 90% of it is rooted in self-pity and will only interfere with moving forward.
Thou shall count thy blessings; never overlooking the small ones, for a lot of small blessings add up to a big one.
We find in our reading from Paul’s letter to the Colossians an instruction about being kind to others. “Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13 Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. 14 And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. 15 Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.”
“A little disabled boy was hurrying to catch a train. In the crowd he had difficulty in walking with his crutches, as well as carrying a basket full of fruit. As the passengers rushed along, one hit the basket by mistake, knocking oranges, apples, and grapes in all directions. The man who caused the accident paused only long enough to scold the lad for getting in his way. Another gentleman, seeing the boy’s distress, went to his aid. Quickly he picked up the fruit and added a silver coin to the collection, saying, ‘I’m sorry, Son! I hope this makes up a little!’” With a smile he was on his way. The young boy who had seldom been the recipient of such kindness called after the ‘good Samaritan’ in gratitude and awe, ‘Mister—please sir, are you Jesus?’ “No,’ replied his new-found friend, ‘I’m only one of His followers.’
We as Christians are called to act in such a way that our actions show what we believe in. The people whose lives we touch need to see the Lord in our acts of compassion and Christian kindness. We see Paul tell the church at Colossae this calling right off the bat., We, who have accepted Christ are clothed in Christ; as such, there should be a huge change in our attitude. Our attitude should be the same as that of Jesus, an attitude of kindness, as well as humility, gentleness, patience and forgiveness.
A story tells that two friends were walking through the desert. During some point of the journey they had an argument, and one friend slapped the other one in the face. The one who got slapped was hurt, but without saying anything, wrote in the sand: “Today my best friend slapped me in the face.” They kept on walking until they found an oasis, where they decided to take a bath. The one who had been slapped got stuck in the quicksand and started drowning, but the friend saved him. After he recovered from the near drowning, he wrote on a stone: “To day my best friend saved my life.” The friend who had slapped and saved his best friend asked him, “After I hurt you, you wrote in the sand and now, you write on a stone, why?” The other friend replied: “When someone hurts us we should write it down in sand where winds of forgiveness can erase it away. But, when someone does something good for us, we must engrave it in stone where no wind can ever erase it.”
LEARN TO WRITE YOUR HURTS IN THE SAND AND TO CARVE YOUR BENEFITS IN STONE.
So many times we are ready to write off those we consider our enemies and this is not KINGDOM KINDNESS, this is not what God wants from our church. This is not about showing people kindness by giving them things, or helping pay their bills or even giving them money. It is about giving of ourselves.
A man told a story about the time his son’s birthday was approaching. The dad asked him what he would like for his birthday present.
“Dad, I’d like a ball to play with for my birthday.”
Dad said “Great, what kind of ball?”
“Oh, I don’t know, either a football or a basketball.”
“Well, which would you want more?”
The boy thought about it. Then he said. “If you have some time to play ball with me this year, I’d really like a basketball so we could throw it back and forth in the garden. But if you’re busy this year, maybe you should get me a football, because I can play soccer with the rest of the kids in the street.”
The dad thought about this and said, “Let me surprise you. How does that sound?”
The little boy smiled and said, “Oh that would be great Dad. I really love you.”
Then the man went in and shared this little encounter with his wife and together they agreed, their son was not so much interested in the gift. He was interested in the giver. He was being both kind to himself – still wanting a present he would be pleased with, whatever the circumstances, but also kind to his family, not putting pressure on dad to play if he was going to be busy, knowing he had other friends to play with.
Jesus says to love one another as I have loved you, but he also says we should treat others as we would expect to be treated, and as I said a few weeks ago, in the Lord’s prayer Jesus asks that we forgive others as we would be forgiven. We need to treat ourselves kindly, too. In these difficult times remember that Jesus is there for us to lay our burdens upon; He is there to help us to treat ourselves kindly.
Be kind and show love to yourself and do the same to others.
O God, we come to pray not for ourselves, but for each other – for those we know and those we don’t, for situations we understand and for those that confound us.
The news tells us of trauma and heartache across the world and we try to grasp the intensity of it all.
Bless, O Lord, all involved in the hurting and the healing.
We hear of death and dying, of grieving and weeping…
We hear of pain, scarring and disfigurement…
We hear of anguish and confusion…
We hear of those in need of help, and those who struggle to
We hear of the grieving and the sorrowful…
We hear of the lost and the alone…
And we know, Lord, there are myriad others known only to you.
Bless them all in their hurting and their healing. Amen.