“Therefore, if your whole body is full of light, and no part of it dark, it will be just as full of light as when a lamp shines its light on you.”  Luke 11:36

The morning sun peeked through the slats in my window blinds and landed on one of my potted plants. The leaves became almost transparent. I could see the veins, as if they were being X-rayed. Each vein not only provides nourishment and strength to the leaf but also helps to define its shape.

Are we not the same when Christ, the Light of the world, lives in us? His mercy and goodness shape us. His Word flows through us to strengthen us and nourish us. When Jesus’ light shines through our words, thoughts, and deeds, people see him in us. We almost become transparent.

There is something else I have noticed. If I let any dust settle on the plant leaves, the sunlight does not filter through as well. That hurts the plant and can prevent its leaves from growing strong and green. It may droop or wither.

If we let the dust and dirt of the world settle on us, it can dim Christ’s influence. We can droop under the weight and not receive the light we need daily. It can accumulate on us over time to where very little of Christ is shining through us.

It is important that we are regularly cleansed of our sins so we can shine brightly and attract others to his love. Then, what he is doing inside of us will not be in vain; rather, veins of mercy, grace, and love that strengthen and shape us will be easily seen by others.

Lord, cleanse me of the dirt from the world that settles on me each day. Help me to see your light and know you better and understand your love so that I can be free from the stains of the world and shine your light in every circumstance. Shine through me so that others may see you in me and desire to know you. Amen.

Continue to invite Christ to shine through you and to reveal any dust that might be settling on you.

 


How kind are you?

What is your kindness quotient?

When was the last time you did something kind for someone in your family: e.g.: got a blanket, cleaned off the table, prepared the coffee – without being asked?

Think about your school or workplace. Which person is the most overlooked or avoided?  A shy student? A grumpy employee? Maybe he doesn’t speak the language. Maybe she doesn’t fit in. Are you kind to this person?

Kind hearts are quietly kind. They let the car cut into traffic and the young mom with three kids move up in the checkout line. They pick up the neighbour’s trash can that rolled into the street. And they are especially kind at church. They understand that perhaps the neediest person they’ll meet all week is the one standing in the foyer or sitting on the row behind them in worship. Paul writes:

When we have the opportunity to help anyone, we should do it. But we should give special attention to those who are in the family of believers” (Galatians 6:10).

And, here is a challenge – what about your enemies? With the boss who fired you or the wife who left you. Suppose you surprised them with kindness? Not easy? No, it’s not. But mercy is the deepest gesture of kindness. Paul equates the two

. “Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.”  Ephesians 4:32 (NKJV).

Jesus said:
Love your enemies. Do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you. – If you love only the people who love you, what praise should you get? “[L]ove  your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without hoping to get anything back. Then you will have a great reward, and you will be children of the Most High God, because he is kind even to people who are ungrateful and full of sin. Show mercy, just as your Father shows mercy. (Luke 6:27-28, 32, 35-36)

Kindness at home. Kindness in public. Kindness at church and kindness with your enemies. Pretty well covers the gamut, don’t you think? Almost. Someone else needs your kindness. Who could that be? You.

Since he is so kind to us, can’t we be a little kinder to ourselves? Oh, but you don’t know me, Max. You don’t know my faults and my thoughts. You don’t know the gripes I grumble and the complaints I mumble. No, I don’t, but he does. He knows everything about you, yet he doesn’t hold back his kindness toward you. Has he, knowing all your secrets, retracted one promise or reclaimed one gift?

No, he is kind to you. Why don’t you be kind to yourself? He forgives your faults. Why don’t you do the same? He thinks tomorrow is worth living. Why don’t you agree? He believes in you enough to call you his ambassador, his follower, even his child. Why not take his cue and believe in yourself?

Be kind to yourself. God thinks you’re worth his kindness. And he’s a good judge of character.