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      Nurturing people in the image of God since 1868.                                                                          POB 397/520 Dry Creek Rd./Smithville, TN

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IS KINDNESS UNUSUAL?

In Acts 28 the apostle Paul and 275 shipmates (see 27:37) have washed ashore on the island of malta after a harrowing ride of many days on a storm-battered boat.  When they finally abandoned the sinking ship and swam ashore, Acts 28:2 makes this statement- 'The natives showed us unusual kindness; for they kindled a fire and made us all welcome, because of the rain that was falling and because of the cold." Luke, the inspired writer of ACTS, was clearly impressed with the kindness shown to him and Paul and the other 274 tired, weary, water-logged, cold men who washed ashore on Malta.  He was not accustomed to seeing such kindness, especially extended to strangers.  The only way he can describe the people of Malta is to say they ". . showed us unusual kindness."

A shortage of the milk of human kindness is causing our world to turn sour.  On the international scene, the world is still a very unkind place.  Hatred and hostility lead to conflict and war and killing.  When the milk of human kindness is left bottled up, atrocities can happen.  Who can see the horrible and shocking image of a twelve year old Palestinian child being shot to death as a TV camera rolls in lsrael and not understand the need for human beings to learn to practice more kindness?  Closer to home, we find that much of the TV and entertainment programming produced and pumped into our homes, heads, and hearts is vulgar and violent and void of basic human goodness and kindness.  Few would disagree that our society itself is less kind and gentle than it was in past days.  As someone noted, this is a dangerous age in which we live, but we don't stand in much danger or being killed by kindness.

We must not allow kindness to become unusual.  God expects His children to practice kindness.' it is ' a fruit of the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:23) and one of the graces we are taught to add to our Christian lives (2 Peter 1:7).  In Luke 6:35 we learn that God is kind even "to the unthankful and evil." William Penn got it right when he said, 'I expect to pass through this world but once.  If therefore, there be any kindness I can show, or any good thing I can do to any fellow being, let me do it now, and not defer or neglect it, as I shall not pass this way again." Someone observed that some people can be so kind, polite, and sweet-spirited- until you try to sit on their pew.  How unusual is kindness coming from you?

Dan Gulley
Smithville Church of Christ