"Remind the people to be subject to rulers and authorities, to be obedient , to be ready to do whatever is good, to slander no one, to be peaceable and considerate, and always to be gentle toward everyone." Titus 3:1-2
I remember having a conversation with my two oldest kids not too long ago about being kind to everyone, no matter what. I told them that they didn't know what other people were going through and that they may be the only Jesus others get to see. But that is a difficult task sometimes, isn't it? We have a hard time being kind and gentle to people that we don't like or people that we think don't deserve kindness and gentleness or people that have wronged us. If we aren't careful, we become judgmental and condescending rather than kind and gentle. And I can't find anywhere in the Bible where we were called to be judgmental and condescending. However, I have found many places in the Bible where we are called to be kind and gentle. This passage in Titus reminds us that we should be ready to do to good, to be obedient, to be peaceable and considerate, and to always be gentle toward everyone. In Titus 3:3-11 concludes in this way: "At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another. But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life. This is a trustworthy saying. And I want you to stress these things, so that those who have trusted in God may be careful to devote themselves to doing what is good. These things are excellent and profitable for everyone. But avoid foolish controversies and genealogies and arguments and quarrels about the law, because these are unprofitable and useless. Warn a divisive person once, and then warn them a second time. After that, have nothing to do with them. You may be sure that such people are warped and sinful; they are self-condemned." Paul warned Titus, and he warned us, that he was called to be gentle and kind to everyone. He was not called to judge or to condemn others. He reminded Titus, just as he reminded us, that we too were foolish and disobedient and unkind at one time. But God loved us even when we were unlovable! God granted mercy and righteousness when mercy and righteousness were undeserved. All of the good things we have ever done is still not enough to make us right with God. It's not about what we have done or are doing. It's all about what God has done and is doing! And since we have been saved from our sin...saved from ourselves...we should no longer live in sinful passions and pleasures. We should embrace a life of love and kindness and gentleness...toward everyone. Like I told my kids not too long ago, you may be the only Jesus someone sees today. Will they see love, kindness, and gentleness? Or will they see judgment and condemnation?