When I was a child we had 4 TV channels, that was it. You couldn’t record anything, you couldn’t skip intros or adverts. You watched what was scheduled or you turned the TV off. Now, you can stream things, watching entire box sets in one sitting. I rarely watch TV live, because I want to be able to forward through adverts. And often now as soon as the first episode has been shown you are informed that the entire series is available to download.
This is just one example of the culture of want that we live in. We expect things to be available when we want and need them.
Patience isn’t encouraged. I get asked a lot ‘what are we doing today?’ – shockingly I do intend on telling my groups the plan of action but not necessarily as soon as they’ve walked in the door, and having to say it 25 times.
Kindness is also becoming a lost art, and people seem to be shocked, overwhelmed or even suspicious when people do show kindness. After all why would someone just do a kind act?
Paul had spoken about love a lot to the early Church and in his letter to the Corinthians, a passage read out at many wedding ceremonies, he tells the Church the characteristics of Love saying
“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.”
Patience and kindness are attributes of love. In today’s society they can often be seen as weaknesses, that someone is a push over, however Anupama Attri gives a very different perspective saying:
“Patience and kindness are powers not weaknesses”
How are they powers? Through patience we are taking time to explore the world around us, the people around us, that may strengthen us and strengthen others. In a world where everyone is in a rush, and where everything has to happen straight away, imagine how much someone will appreciate another being patient and spending time with them. There has been a lot of research looking in to the power of kindness, and how kindness breeds more kindness. If someone receives an act of kindness then they are more likely to be kind to someone else. People are encouraged to do a random act of kindness a day, but why does it have to be a big thing? Why does it have to be random? Why can’t it just be what people naturally do?
We have been exploring what love is, and although we have looked at the sacrificial love of God, the greatest gift to humanity, that may seem a bit out of our reach. But patience and kindness are still sacrifices, and are how we can demonstrate love in our lives.
To see what patience and kindness might look like, all we need to do is to look at the life of Jesus. There are times when you can see he could get frustrated with the questions of his disciples, or when they don’t seem to have understood what he’s been teaching them, but he doesn’t have a go at them, he will listen and will respond. He showed kindness to all people, even the Romans and one of the criminals next to him at his Crucifixion. God doesn’t expect us to be experts at patience and kindness, but he gives us the perfect example to follow.
Challenge: what is the effect of you sowing patience and kindness in your life?
Prayer:Father God we thank you that you demonstrated kindness and patience when you came to earth, help us to be a reflection of that in our lives. Amen