|Vol. 13 No. 4 April 2011||
Surely, we do not need to have these words defined. In fact, we probably know too that God expects these characteristics to be in our lives. However, knowing what a word means and even knowing that God wants us to make kindness, compassion and caring a part of our lives does not guarantee that we have fully put them into practice. Therefore, let me bring this to our remembrance.
Love is the basis for all these attributes. God’s Word tells us, “love is kind” (1 Corinthians 13:4). Kindness is enjoined/commanded (Ephesians 4:32). We are to put on kindness (Colossians 3:12). So, there is no doubt that kindness should be a trait of every Christian. One good example of kindness is Joseph. In spite of the way his brothers treated him, he was most kind to them and to their families (Genesis 50:21). Because of his love for Jonathan, David sought to show kindness to anyone left in the house of Saul (2 Samuel 9:lff). Even Barbarians showed kindness to Paul and his company while they were on the island of Mileta (Acts 28:1-2). Surely, Christians can show kindness to their fellow man.
Compassion was an evident quality of the Son of God. One of many occasions where Jesus is said to be compassionate was on a teaching and healing tour recorded in Matthew 9. The Scripture says, “but when he saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion for them, because they were distressed and scattered, as sheep not having a shepherd” (9:36). With care and compassion, we need to help others and give to their needs (Acts 20:35). With compassion put, yourself in the place of those in adversity as though you were in adversity (Hebrews 13:3). The good Samaritan was an excellent example for us (Luke 10:33).
Members of the Lord’s church should always care one for another (1 Corinthians 12:25). The apostle Paul cared for the church (2 Corinthians 11:28). He was concerned that when he came to Corinth he would find them not such as he would, but that he would find them involved in “quarreling, jealousy, anger, hostility, slander, gossip, conceit, and disorder” (2 Corinthians 12:20).
We must care for the church and each member thereof. One of my favorite examples of caring is Mordecai. The Scripture tells us, “and Mordecai walked every day before the court of the women’s house, to know how Esther did, and what would become of her” (Esther 2:11). There is no doubt; he really cared for his ward. Kindness, compassion and caring – let us make them a part of our lives.
There was a common ritual in much of the Roman and Greek world during the first century. It was one of the ways that a slave could be set free. A master would take his slave to a temple. There he would sell the slave to a god. The temple priests would give the master the price of the slave from the temple treasury. The slave became the property of the god, but he was not a slave of the god. Instead he was considered a protégé of the god. This meant that he was to live the rest of his life in service to the god. He could never be made a slave to man again.
This pagan ritual is properly used as a reference point by Paul in 1 Corinthians. In 6:19-20, we read, “What? Know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost, which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.”
If pagan slaves were willing to live the rest of their lives for a make-believe god after being bought, should not Christians willingly live their lives for God after being bought with the price of Jesus’ blood? The pagan slave was considered free from slavery. How much more should a Christian be thankful for being set free from the slavery of sin? In 7:23, Paul tells the Christians that they were bought with a price and should not make themselves a slave to false teachers. False teachers are men. Instead, Christians should serve God.
Study your Bible. Learn how to be “bought with a price.” Become a Christian. Then, live properly as a person “bought with a price” by God. If any of this is hard to understand, ask an adult to help you.