A book on my summer reading list is Barry Corey's Love Kindness: Discover the Power of a Forgotten Christian Virtue. Barry is a friend and the President of Biola University in California.
The book is a memoir of sorts. Barry has collected a number of stories from his life that illustrate the power of the Christian virtue, kindness.
President's Corey's father, Hugh Corey was a pastor and the book includes a conversation between a young Barry and his father: "Barry, he said, 'if the lives God intersects with mine don't have the opportunity to receive me, how will they ever know the love God has for them?'"
Hugh Corey's goal was to be "receivable" to others. He lived with the promise of Jesus recorded for us in Matthew 10:40: "Anyone who receives you receives me, and anyone who receives me receives the Father who sent me."
As Christ-followers, we are called to be receivable. And in this rough and tumble time where civil, respectful behavior seems lost, living a life of kindness can make us receivable.
Barry summarizes the relevant importance of loving kindness so well:
"The way of kindness is not just having right theology; it's being the right kind of people. It's understanding that our lives as Jesus' followers mean we have a common humanity with everyone, and therefore there's no need for exceptionalism. We owe all human beings the honor due them as beings made in the image of God."
Kindness is about giving everyone the honor due them as children of God. This doesn't require us to give up the convictions of our faith. And living kindness doesn't mean everyone will receive us; for sure, many will reject our kindness. But the radical call of Christianity is to be receivable; to remove the obstacles that we put in place to separate ourselves from those around us that we find disagreeable. This requires humility and authenticity and honor for all God puts in our path.