Brotherly Kindness 3/21/18

Brotherly Kindness

Luke 10:25-37  The Parable of the Good Samaritan

On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?” 

“What is written in the Law?” he replied. “How do you read it?”

He answered, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.”

 “You have answered correctly,” Jesus replied. “Do this and you will live.”

But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”

In reply, Jesus said: “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he was attacked by robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead.  A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, brought him to an inn and took care of him. The next day he took out two denarii (one day’s wage) and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.”

“Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?”

The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.”

Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.”

When I was trying to decide the best message for brotherly kindness I had not thought of this story. Looking back it seems obvious. The Bible talks a lot about kindness, but I wanted something concrete. Yesterday morning, after searching through text and coming up empty I decided to simply pray for God to show me what to use. I stopped working on the devotion and decided to change it up by going back to a book I was reading, completely unrelated to spiritual growth, and guess where the last place I left off was…? A study on the Parable of the Good Samaritan. Just to give some added context, the book I am reading was citing a study that used the Parable of the Good Samaritan as a sociology experiment. Again, nothing inherently related to kindness in a biblical sense.  I knew as soon as I picked the book up that God was answering my prayer and giving me the material for this devotion.

Brotherly kindness is relatively self-explanatory. Be kind to your brothers. The question comes when we think of the word “brothers.” I am sure you have heard the saying that we are all brothers and sisters in Christ. What does that mean to you? Does “all” really mean all? I know I don’t treat everyone like they are family. This story reminds us that God calls us to show kindness to all people. Even those that may anger or frighten us. It could be those in a different socioeconomic class than you. Jesus tells the story to highlight that we as Christians have neglected our brothers in Christ. Showing kindness to those you know and love is easy. Showing kindness for those you do not know is much more difficult. Don’t just walk by the sick or hurting. Don’t be unkind to those that have wronged you. It is not our job to label people. Nor should we try to understand or judge their circumstances. God does not say “be kind to those YOU think are worthy.” Instead, He says, “Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.” In my opinion, I think there are few things that make God happier than when we are kind in situations that would warrant the opposite. Make God smile by showing brotherly kindness to “the least of these…”

I would encourage you today to step out of your comfort zone. Be alert to those around you. Look at everyone through a godly lens. Start at home, with those closest to you. Then use that as encouragement to show brotherly kindness throughout your day. Small, repetitive, intentional acts, have a way of multiplying. Allow your kindness to multiply.

“The day you stop doing the small things is the day you think you’re above everybody else.” – Kevin Hart

Prayer: Dear Lord, give me the strength to see all of your people. Help me to lose my sight and gain yours. I know that showing kindness to all makes you joyful. Remind me to take the extra step and be kind, today. Amen.

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