Day 1

Day 1: Kindness

John 15:10-13: “If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.”

Lesson: So often today, the church is cast into a negative light. Non-believers tend to describe Christians as judgmental, selfish hypocrites who want everyone to adhere to their rigid moral rules. While our immediate reaction as the church is to argue against such an assessment, we would be deceiving ourselves if we fail to admit that this description is not entirely wrong. At some point, it is likely that we have all been judgmental, selfish, or hypocritical. But, at the same time, we would be wrong not to also note the ways in which this description has been wildly inaccurate, the times in which the church has shown radical love and kindness.

In fact, it is this very radical kindness that helped cause the fledgling fringe movement that was the early church to experience exponential growth. The Christians astonished their pagan neighbors with their commitment to sacrifice themselves to care for their community and for the poor. Even more unbelievable, the early Christians were willing to sacrifice not only for their own people, but also for those outside their community, even the pagans themselves. The kindness they were shown by the Christians led them to abandon their pagan beliefs and become followers of Christ.

During this season of suffering and chaos, we as the church have an opportunity to once again show radical love and kindness instead of focusing only on ourselves. In the opening verse, Jesus instructs us that if we follow his command to love one another our joy will be complete. In other words, we cannot experience the fullness of joy when we only focus on ourselves. For our joy to be full, we must learn to practice showing love and kindness to others. In doing so, we can serve as witnesses to Christ’s perfect love shown through his willingness to suffer and die on our behalf.

Activity: Pray that God would help you better practice kindness in your daily life. What is one random act of socially distant kindness you can engage in today? Here are a few ideas:
  • Leave a large tip on your delivery or mobile food order
  • Deliver food, flowers, or a friendly note to someone who may be more stressed than normal during this time (parents, teachers, first responders, the elderly, those living alone, healthcare workers, etc.)
  • Do an extra chore around the house to help out your spouse, parents, roommate, etc. 
  • Reach out to your neighbors to support and encourage them
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