Love … is kind—1 Cor. 13:4.
It is no more obligatory upon the Lord's people to denounce every wrongdoer whom they may meet in the street than it is for them to tell all homely persons they may see of their lack along the lines of beauty. … Politeness is always a part of Christian character. In the world it may be polish, but in the Christian it is not merely a veneer; rather, it represents the true sentiments of the heart, developed along the lines of the spirit of life, love. Love leads to gentleness, patience, kindness, etc., and even in the case of disobedience it will hesitate to utter an unkind word and will avoid the same so far as duty will permit—Z '03, 153 (R 3194).
The word translated love here means disinterested good will in distinction from duty good will. It is the good will which, apart from obligation, but based upon a delight in good principles, delights in giving appreciation, heart's oneness, sympathy or pity, and sacrifice. Appreciating good in principle and character, it delights to advance good in principle and character; sympathizing with or pitying those who are treated contrary to, or who are out of harmony with, good principles, it delights to help them out of these conditions. It is therefore on the alert to plan and do acts of kindness for the blessing of others. It perseveres in this course, sacrificing even unto death in ministering blessings to others. It is kind—P '26, 84.
40, 45; Luke 6:35; Rom. 12:10; Gal. 5:6, 22, 23; Eph. 4:32; Col. 3:12-14; 1 Thes. 4:9; 2 Thes. 1:3; 1 Tim. 1:5; 1 Pet. 3:8; 4:8; 2 Pet. 1:7; 1 John 3:16, 17.
Hymns: 23, 21, 90, 95, 165, 166, 198.
Poems of Dawn, 146: Scatter Seeds of Kindness.
Tower Reading: Z '14, 77 (R 5417).
Questions: Has this week been filled with kindness? What were the circumstances, forms, motives and effects?
LOVING words will cost but little,
Journeying up the hill of life;
But they make the weak and weary
Stronger, braver for the strife.
Do you count them only trifles?
What to earth are sun and rain?
Never was a kind word wasted,
Never was one said in vain.
When the cares of life are many,
And its burdens heavy grow
For the ones who walk beside you,
If you love them, tell them so.
What you count of little value
Hath an almost magic power,
And beneath that cheering sunshine
Hearts will blossom like a flower.
So, as up life's hill we journey,
Let us scatter all the way
Kindly words, to be as sunshine
In the dark and cloudy day.
Grudge no loving word, my brother,
As along through life you go,
To the ones who journey with you;
If you love them, tell them so.
"Let all your deeds be done in love." — 1 Corinthians 16:14.—Diaglott.
GOD is the very personification of sympathy and love. As the Scriptures declare, "God is Love." And all who will be God's children, developed in His likeness, will be loving children. As St. John says, "He that dwelleth in love, dwelleth in God, and God in him." (1 John 4:16.) In proportion as we develop strength of character as New Creatures, this quality of love increases. In addition, we should find our judgment also becoming more accurate. Those who are developed in the Spirit of the Lord have better judgment than they formerly had. As the days go by, they know better how to sympathize with the world; how to deal with mankind; they are getting more and more of the wisdom which cometh from above.
CAREFUL PREPARATION FOR KINGDOM NECESSARY
Before we became Christians at all, we may have been under-balanced, or over-balanced—we may not have known how to deal properly with our families or our friends. Out of kindness and sympathy we may have been inclined to give them money, or to yield to their wishes in a way that was injurious to them; or we may have been too severe and unyielding. But as we grow in the spirit of a sound mind, we learn better how to deal with others, so as to be in harmony with the Divine will, the Divine Spirit.
When we shall have experienced our change and have become like our Redeemer, all of our powers will be perfect. Our love, our conception of justice, and also our conception of how to deal with others, will then be perfect. Every one who does not develop this character of love, mercy, justice, etc., will be unprepared for the Kingdom work.
The next Age is to be a time of purification, of purgation, to the world; and those of the Lord's people who do not now have character enough to give necessary stripes are not worthy of a position in which authority must be exercised. On the other hand, those who would give too many stripes would not be fit to deal with mankind. Therefore we all need this balance of mind in order to be ready for the work of the next Age.
PROPER AND IMPROPER OCCASIONS FOR ANGER
As we come to see that the whole race of Adam is fallen—some more, some less—we develop a broad sympathy for mankind. We grow compassionate. We desire to lift them up out of their degradation. We would like to help them as much as opportunity affords. Hence we are far from wishing to render evil for evil. We wish to be peacemakers as far as possible. Therefore, unless it would be injustice to refrain from speaking sharply, we should be careful that our words are kind and loving. However, even though our words might not be angry, there are times when sharp utterances might be helpful, but even these should be tempered with love; tempered with the spirit of the Master.
"BE YE ANGRY AND SIN NOT"
There is a difference between anger that would be righteous indignation and anger that would be unloving, unkind, unjust. We know that God is angry with the wicked, for the Scriptures so tell us. (Psalm 7:11.) This fact shows us that anger of itself does not necessarily imply a sinful condition; for God has no sin, and He judges Himself by the same regulations under which He judges His creatures. Therefore anger in itself is not sin.
In God's case there is no danger that He will make a mistake and be angry with the right or approve the wrong, or that He will be lenient with the wrong and thus oppose the right. His knowledge is perfect; therefore His conduct is perfect. In our case, however, if we feel that anger is proper for us, we should use a great deal of discretion. As the Apostle Paul says; "Be ye angry and sin not."—Ephesians 4:26.
In a case where an innocent person is suffering wrong, and we have full knowledge of the matter, then it might be our duty to manifest anger, righteous indignation. It would be proper to manifest a certain degree of anger if we saw even a dumb brute mistreated. If we saw the principles of righteousness being outraged, it might become necessary to manifest some anger, some indignation.
But these cases would probably be very rare, for the circumstances would not often be a matter of our business. As St. Peter remarks, we are none of us to suffer as busybodies in other men's affairs.—1 Peter 4:15.
If we see a parent doing to his child something that is not right, we should not interfere unless the child's life is endangered. If it is merely a case of switching or a box on the ear, we must not interfere. It is not our business. Let us as the Lord's children, ambassadors of the King of Heaven, seek more and more to exercise the spirit of a sound mind, the spirit of love and reasonableness.