Becoming a Kinder Person
By Rick Warren
“There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out all fear” (1 John 4:18a ESV).
The parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 15) teaches two very profound lessons about kindness. If you want to genuinely become a kinder person, you must be willing to do two things:
1. You must be willing to be interrupted. Kindness doesn’t happen on your schedule. It happens on their schedule. That’s why they need kindness. At that moment, you’ve got to drop everything and stop. Love is often inconvenient, and kindness takes time.
Think of the excuses the Good Samaritan could have given to the wounded man on the side of the road. He could have said, “I’ve got my own problems to think about” or “I’ve got important business to care for. Besides, it’s probably a lost cause.” Anytime you want an excuse for being unkind, the Devil will be right there to give you one. He will gladly give you a thousand excuses on why you don’t have the time, energy, or money to do what needs to be done.
God intentionally puts hurting people in your path so that you will learn kindness. When you encounter these opportunities today, how will you respond? Will you blow it off? Or will you seize the moment?
2. You must be willing to take risks. Many times, your own fears can keep you from being kind. Just imagine the legitimate fears the Good Samaritan could have had.
He could have said, “What if I go over to help this guy, and the robbers are still here?” or “What if it’s a trap?” or “What if he rejects my help?”
Today, we might say, “What if he sues me?” or “What if I can’t really help him? I’m not trained in first aid.” How many times have you not helped somebody because you thought, “I don’t know what to say”? One big fear we don’t often mention: Getting involved in someone else’s pain reminds us of our own brokenness. We’re afraid to deal with others’ pain, because then ours will bubble out.
But we’ll never learn how to truly show kindness until we move past our fears and extend God’s love to people who are hurting. The Bible says, “There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out all fear” (1 John 4:18a ESV).
It’s God love, in fact, that first helps us heal from our own hurt so that we can then show that love to others. It’s God’s love that helps us move past our fears so that we can learn to be kind.
Talk It Over
How can you build margin into your schedule to help you have more time to show kindness to others?
What fears do you need to move past to be able to show kindness to others?
Be prepared this week: God wants you to show kindness toward someone on your path. How will you respond?
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This devotional © 2017 by Rick Warren. All rights reserved. Used by permission.
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