Christians in the General Election: Kindness and Politics
“What does the Lord require of you but to do just, love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God.” Micah 6:8 (NIV)
Imagine the difference in this current political season if everyone involved displayed kindness and courtesy. Wow! That vision seems so elusive. Such behaviors are almost lost virtues. But this is exactly what God invites us to do—to be kind to others regardless of what they say or do in return. In fact, the Lord God beckons us to something even greater than simply acting with kindness. God calls us to “love kindness.” What does that mean, exactly?
In the Old Testament, kindness is often dependent on the character of the person doing the action rather than on any merit of the recipient. In older versions, this word is often translated as mercy, which means unmerited favor and/or grace shown to another. The idea behind loving kindness means acting kindly from a character imbued with love, one filled with such love that kind actions flow from this source.
The book of Proverbs includes several passages where kindness is coupled with truth (Proverbs 3:3; 14:22) or wisdom (Proverbs 31:26). Other parts of Scripture pair kindness with faithfulness (Genesis 47:29; Hosea 4:1). Micah, in the verse listed above, balances justice and kindness with walking humbly with God. The Old and New Testaments offer myriad examples of God’s kindness. When we show kindness, we exemplify God’s example for daily living.
Today’s political climate is fraught with disagreements and strong frictions. Hostility and racial tension have escalated into anger and violence. Even Christians are being caught up in this terrible behavior, choosing to act with “self-righteous meanness” disguised as truth, says Randy Alcorn, author of The Grace and Truth Paradox.
Instead, Christians should demonstrate kindness, grace, and courtesy—in other words, open-hearted hospitality, where we truly see the other person and embrace the beauty of differences rather than marginalizing or making invisible those who are different from us. We need to act with true kindness, not just niceness. Kindness is a powerful virtue, a posture of the heart exemplified in the life and ministry of Jesus.
In his book, Love Kindness, Barry Corey, Ph.D., clarifies that such a disposition does not mean being weak or like milquetoast. In fact, he asserts it takes courage and strength to live a life defined by loving kindness. He explains that “to be Christian, kindness must shape us and define us.” Kindness requires us to engage from a Christ-centered core of love that spills out into our lives; it is living from a firm center (justice) with soft edges (kindness).
In the final weeks leading up to the election, may we all love kindness!
Read articles in the Christians in the General Election Series:
Gentleness and Politics by Roger White, Ed.D.
Posted: October 10, 2016