Be devoted to one another.’ Romans 12:10 NIV (2011 Edition)
Sometimes we think that in order to be successful we have to be tough, hard-nosed, and stoic in how we relate to others. Some folks even go so far as to interpret kindness as weakness and vulnerability.
Nothing could be further from the truth. Kindness signals tremendous inner strength that others not only appreciate, but respect. Aesop wrote a fable in which the wind and the sun argued over who was the stronger. ‘Do you see that old man down there?’ the wind asked.
‘I can make him take off his coat quicker than you can.’ The sun agreed to duck behind a cloud while the wind blew up a storm. But the harder the wind blew the more firmly the traveller wrapped his coat around him. Eventually the wind gave up and the sun reappeared, smiling kindly upon the old man. Before long he mopped his brow, shed his heavy coat and strolled away.
The sun knew the secret: Warmth, friendliness, and a gentle touch are always more effective than force and fury. Jesus was hard on hypocrites and those who took advantage of others. But to everyone else, including society’s rejects, He showed great kindness. He came into an unkind, dog-eat-dog, every-man-for-himself culture where there were no mental health institutions, hospitals, orphanages, or organisations of mercy.
Yet He poured the milk of human kindness into every bowl of human suffering. And at the cross He demonstrated the ultimate cost of kindness – and in so doing, changed the world for all time. So, ‘Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honour one another above yourselves’ (Romans 12:10 NIV UK 2011 Edition).