AW Tozer, Be a particle of light in this dark unkind world, Christ the kindness and love of God, Christmas, Ephesians 2:4 - 7, Kindness, Kindness counter-cultural, Kindness is costly, Kindness today is an act of rebellion, P!nk, The Kindness of God in Christ, The Story of Christmas, Titus 3:4
Kindness today is an act of rebellion.
P!nk at the 2019 E! People’s Choice Awards
Perhaps these are the finest words from one of today’s self proclaimed “bad-a** social activists“. I am alert to when pop stars sometimes accidentally get it right amidst the pressure to promote their brand and their product. Popular culture after all is about catching the wave of the politically correct sentiment, or as P!nk would have us believe, it is about setting the course of what ought to be popularly correct.
But as A. W. Tozer observed so long ago:
The world seems to possess a real genius for being wrong…
Society, being fluid, usually moves like the wind, going all out in on direction until the novelty wears off or there is a war or a depression. Then the breeze sets another way and everyone is supposed to go along with it without asking too many questions, though this constant change of direction should certainly cause the thoughtful soul to wonder whether anyone really knows what all the excitement is about after all.
So many and so efficient are the media… [that] when it is time for the wind to change, the common people quickly get the drift and swing obediently into the breeze. Anyone who resists is a killjoy and a spoilsport, to say nothing of being old-fashioned and dogmatic.
Nevertheless P!nk is right on this one
Kindness today is an act of rebellion. (For more, see Befriending Radical Disagreement, and Ellen Degeneres’ appeal to be kind.)
Kindness flies in the face of mere self-promotion – even if in this cultural moment to speak about kindness enhances it.
Kindness is counter-cultural to being the centre of one’s own galaxy – including the rarified galaxy of the rich and famous – where all that matters is satisfying oneself.
Are we truly at a course correction in our society? Are the winds changing?
Kindness has always been Counter-Cultural
… because kindness is costly. To be kind is to be intentionally gentle, benevolent, and benign. It is to be actively gracious in spite of ingratitude. It is to offer goodness despite the possibility of being taken advantage of. It is to offer hospitality to the inhospitable. Mere lip service to kindness can’t do that. Making kindness the darling notion of popular correctness will not be enough.
Kindness is self-giving; and I’ll say it again: it is costly.
When John Owen described the kindness of God being sent in the person of Christ to establish a beach-head of counter-culture, he writes:
When Christ comes with his spiritual power upon the soul to conquer it to himself, he hath no quiet landing place. He can set foot upon no ground but what he must fight for.
John Owen, Sin and Temptation, circa 1656
It seems contradictory to talk about the kindness of Christ being the kindness that fights for us – but as any lover or parent knows, love fights for the good of the loved one.
Kindness is counter-cultural, it is self-giving, and it is costly.
The Story of Christmas = The Kindness of God in Christ
My favourite nickname for Jesus is one the Apostle Paul gives him in Titus 3:4 when he referred to Jesus as “the kindness and love of God.” I appreciate the word play found in the original Greek, as the word for kindness is “χρηστός” ~ “chrestos” – pronounced “krees-toss”. It is but a mere vowel difference from the name for Jesus being “Χριστός” ~ “Christós” – the Christ – the Anointed One.
Thus in this ancient early letter to the Church, it is written:
Because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved.
And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus.
… and this coming new year… get to know the kindness of God in the person of Jesus Christ. Be the counter-cultural rebel you desire to be – find yourself being a particle of His light in this dark unkind world.