Do you remember the old Blockbuster rental storefronts back in the day?
Maybe I’m just so old now that no one else remembers it but I’ll toss in another throwback - do you remember VHS tapes? For the young people in the back, VHS tapes were physical movies or shows you put into a VCR device that connected to your TV. Once the movie had been watched, you would have to rewind it so it went back to the beginning of the movie for the next time it was viewed.
Ok, now that the history lesson is over - my point is coming.
When you would go into the Blockbuster store, with anticipation and excitement, you would rent a VHS tape and take it home to watch. The outside of the VHS cover - and Blockbuster’s slogan - would say “Be Kind and Rewind.” This was because, once you watched the movie, you would need to rewind the film so that it went back to the beginning of the movie. This was for the people who would rent the tape after you.
Now, who knows how many people who actually did that? Some would say “we don’t have time for that” (because it could take like FOREVER which was really only 1-2 mins) and give the movie back without rewinding it so the next person would get the movie and have to rewind it before they even start it.
But what do you expect when they were only thinking of themselves?
Why should they rewind when the person receiving the tape after them never did anything for them in the first place? It’s not like they owed them anything. They wouldn’t get thanked personally, nothing was in it for them. Why go the extra mile for something they wouldn’t benefit from?
Wow, all of that intro just to get to my starting point here. (I’m not talking about Karma, though I’m sure there’s a similarity - except that Karma is selfish and self serving whereas kindness is NOT.)
A by-product and fruit of the Holy Spirit is kindness. So in order to see that fruit in our lives or even understand the necessity for it, we need to first look at the source - the Lord - who bestows that fruit every day.
What is kindness?
Compassionate, merciful, considerate, selfless, generous, gracious.
What kindness is not:
Timid, weak, mean, selfish, apathetic, indifferent.
How has the Lord shown kindness to us?
When Adam and Eve sinned against the Lord and broke the one rule that was given to eat of the one tree out of thousands they couldn’t eat from; instead of restarting the race of man, He showed kindness and clothed their nakedness.
When Abram kicked Hagar out of the camp and she wandered by herself with her fatherless son; instead of leaving her on her own, the Lord showed kindness to her in speaking blessings over her and her bloodline.
When the Israelites wandered in the desert complaining and wailing of how much better they had it in Egypt in captivity than freedom in the desert; instead of letting them die of hunger, the Lord showed kindness in providing manna and water every single day for them.
These are only three examples out of a billion others but when you look at each scenario, and each person in the story, did you notice any of them deserving of God’s kindness?
Adam and Eve deserved death when they rebelled and ate of the fruit which they were specifically told not to.
Hagar wasn’t even Abram’s wife but she bore his son because of his barren wife.
The Israelites whined while in slavery and complained while in freedom and should have been left to their dissatisfaction in every situation they were in without ever seeing the kindness God showed to them.
Well, guess what my friends? We don’t deserve God’s kindness either!
Sorry to be so blunt, but really, our perfect, pure, and holy God deserves so much more than our filthy, sin-stained rags. Even our best doesn’t measure up to or fulfill the payment He paid on the cross.
Thank goodness for God’s grace. That His mercy and goodness follow us all the days of our lives. That because of His kindness towards us, it leads us to repentance.
His kindness transforms us. It displays His sacrificial love towards us. His unending mercies are poured out every day and are new every morning. He has unrelenting pursuit of us and will never give up on us. Do we deserve it? No. Does He still pour it out? Every single day.
Jesus spoke about being merciful on the Sermon on the Mount. Not only that but He displayed the truest form of kindness to us: His death on the cross.
His love for us knows no bounds. And His mercy extended towards us compels us to extend that same kindness and mercy towards others.
Kindness cannot be fabricated or forced. It can only come from a heart posture of gratitude.
Ephesians 2:4-7 says “But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.”
Kindness is a show of mercy and love with no thought of reward or attention - with no expectation of payment or fanfare.
And just as the Lord is kind to US, so we are to be to ALL around us.
But why should we extend mercy when the person receiving never did anything for us in the first place? It’s not like we owed them anything. We won’t get thanked personally, nothing is in it for us. Why go the extra mile for something we wouldn’t benefit from?
Ephesians 4:32 “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.”
Because, just as we receive God’s kindness every day, how can we not bestow that same kindness to others?
Kindness is not saved for the deserving. It is laying down one’s rights for the sake of another.
Colossians 3:12-13 “Put on then, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.”
Do you see the fruit of kindness in your life? If your answer is no, then maybe you need to “rewind” and look back at the beginning of your salvation to see God’s kindness over YOU.
Remind yourself of the Blockbuster slogan, “be kind and rewind.” Not because the other person deserves it - but because you DON’T.
Ask the Holy Spirit what is preventing you from extending kindness towards others. Ask Him to gut out selfishness and pride and anything else that is choking the branch from producing that fruit. Ask Him to show you what areas you can be JESUS to those around you in the day to day. And lastly, thank the Lord for His kindness over your life and be led in gratitude of His grace and mercy and His perfect loving kindness that is better than life.
~ Kissy Black