Jealousy is at the heart of so much of what we know as sin. Think about the relationships we have the most trouble with. What’s at the heart of those difficulties… is it that we’re jealous. Jealous of how much a person is loved or appreciated; we believe we’re more deserving. The story of Christmas is one of humility, it’s the story, which is the opposite of envy, it is a story of self-sacrificial love. Jesus who set aside his glory, position, power, magnificence, his royal nature, his position of creator, his greatness and out of love gave of himself… in terms of the life he lived; he loved the life of a pauper, in terms of his appearance; unlimited glory for the form of an infant, child, adolescent and man, in terms of his life; death on a cross.
When we talk about kindness then we’re talking about more than being nice to some people. Kindness is one of those qualities found in God; God is kindness. Therefore, true kindness is a gift from God, it is the fruit of God at work in our lives through his Sprit. What does this Godly kindness look like?
What is patience, the Greek word which we have translated as patience means to be long tempered, to have humility and gentleness. It’s a word that is connected to how we treat one another. Therefore, when scripture talks about patience it is talking about our relationships with one another. We also know that patience is one of the fruits of the Spirit found in Galatians 5: 22-23, ‘But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy peace, forbearance (patience), kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.’
As a church we can have all the right words; stand for all the right things; have a perfect understanding of the gospel; preach the most powerful sermons; but if we don’t have love we’re only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.