We struggled to define the difference between “Goodness and Kindness”. We decided that Good is what you are, where as Kindness is what you show or do. We then talked of tuff love using the stores of Rahab and of David and Saul as and examples. Rahab lied to her people which was wrong on the surface, but served God’s plan later. David showed kindness to Saul by not killing him when given the opportunity at least twice. David practiced kindness which then becomes his nature. We should practice goodness and show kindness so that it becomes our nature as well.
The Monday afternoon group shared stories of kindness/goodness participants witnessed/experienced. I would surely omit something important with my poor memory. But Kathi Powell’s account of hazardous travel in a bad winter storm would make a good blog post in and of itself!
On the surface, this was a simple chapter. However, when reading led to discussion, it helped all of us realize and accept more about our individual selves and our “practice” of Christianity. We discussed the book’s explanation of “kindness” and “goodness”. “Kindness” is doing something that the recipient feels good about, with the benefactor expecting nothing in return. “Goodness” is doing the right thing for a person, even when it may not make him/her feel good. This is sometimes referred to as tough love.” After examining ourselves and our life–experiences with both kindness and goodness, we turned to the church. We determined that Christian Mission work is kindness, by its very definition. The actual “operation” of Christianity is goodness, doing the right thing for a person. The beliefs (structure) of Christianity are laid-out in the Bible and that provides the parameters for Christian life. The church exists to do goodness, spread the word about Jesus, and to reinforce His teachings via actions, shepherding and activities. Practicing Christianity is not necessarily “politically correct”. It is Biblically and morally correct. Practicing Christianity also calls for certain actions on behalf of all who believe. These actions are categorized under “kindness”, “goodness” – or both. All in all, an interesting chapter that provided the impetus for a lot of sincere discussion.
Kindness and Goodness are pretty standard concepts in any decent society. But it’s the idea of Grace that highlights these virtues in the context of Christianity. God set the ultimate example in kindness by His grace. In other religions, one must earn approval in various ways. Christianity is unique in that God’s love is unconditional. God’s grace is good. When we write this on our hearts, we are motivated to pass along that grace in the form of kind acts.