Is anyone else tired of hearing, “Due to the shortage in the supply chain…”
I’m not referring to a shortage of toilet paper, auto parts, or produce. I’m talking about kindness, forgiveness, and grace. These days more than any in recent memory, I see an overabundance of rudeness, anger, impatience, and disdain towards one another. There is a shortage of the Fruit of the Spirit.
But Paul reminds us that this same shortage isn’t something new or caused by the pandemic or today’s political climate. Just decades after the death of Christ, he wrote a message to the church in Ephesus that could have been written today: “Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior. Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.” (Ephesians 4:31-32, NLT).
Please note that he didn’t advise us to TRY to be kind. We are to BE kind, tenderhearted, and forgiving of one another.
In 5:1, Paul further instructs us to “Imitate God, therefore, in everything you do, because you are his dear children.”
God doesn’t ask us to go undercover, hiding from or blending into this crazy world. Matthew 5:14 (NLT) reminds us that Christ left a critical message for all of us: “You are the light of the world.” Two verses later, we are instructed to “Let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father.” (Matthew 5:16).
As Christ’s followers, we are to live intentionally, so our lives reflect the light of Christ. I admit that I have days when I need to study my reflection in the mirror and ask myself if my life reflects Christ – especially after I’ve witnessed an instance of road rage or rudeness to store clerks, or unkindness to a child.
People, pay attention! Our job description as a Christian requires us to model compassion, grace, and forgiveness. That is how we point others to the light – and it is the formula for living a good, contented life. If we all work to ensure there is no shortage of kindness, sympathy, patience, and forgiveness, we will also make our world a better place.
Remember, whatever we do – or neglect to do – will influence somebody. Keep in mind someone is always the influencer, or they are being influenced. What will you choose?