Let us hear the word
You have heard that it was said an eye for an eye and a tooth for tooth, but I say to you do not resist an evil doer, but if anyone strikes you on the right cheek, turn the other also and if anyone wants to sue you and take your coat, give your cloak as well, and if anyone forces you to go one mile, go also the second mile. Give to everyone who begs from you and do not refuse anyone who wants to borrow from you
And Ephesians 4:31-32
Put away from you all bitterness and wrath and anger and wrangling and slander together with all malice and be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another as God in Christ has forgiven you.
This is the word of the Lord.
I want to read today’s Ephesians passage again and I want you to reflect on it.
Put away from you all, bitterness and wrath and anger and wrangling and slander together with all malice and be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another as God in Christ has forgiven you.
A Simple Principle
Look at those two sentences. If I may summarize in one sentence. That is, don’t be rude. Be kind. So that’s it. That’s my sermon. I can go down. Well, what more can I say? Don’t be rude, be kind. That’s what summarizes this particular passage. I think it’s a very simple principle, but very important and a principle for a good life. Don’t be rude. Be Kind.
Always keep that in mind every time you interact with people, as you live your life. Always remember, don’t be rude, be kind. It’s almost like saying, don’t worry, be happy, same as don’t be rude, be kind. I mean, don’t worry, be happy is a very nice catchphrase, but don’t be rude, be kind. Is as good a catchphrase as don’t worry. That is something that you should always keep in mind in your daily life. Be mindful of that. Be conscious of that. If you cannot do it, work on it. If you keep doing it, you’ll get better at it. Don’t be rude, be kind. The Dalai Lama said, “Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible.” This is a very profound message. Be kind whenever possible, but it is always possible.We always have to find an opportunity to be kind. That’s simply a good thing to do as a human being, and when the opportunity comes, do it. Be kind to others.
This is what Jesus taught us. If anyone strikes you on the right cheek, turn the other also, and if anyone wants to sue you and take your coat, give them your cloak as well. And if anyone forces you to go one mile, go also the second mile. Give to everyone. One who begs from you and do not refuse anyone who wants to borrow from you.
Resistance From Within
While writing my sermon, when I wrote this part about Jesus, this came to me. First I chose only the Ephesians passage and then I put the Matthew passage too. That passage came to my mind as I was writing my sermon and as soon as I put it down on my paper, I wanted to scratch it out. I really wanted to scratch it out because there’s deep resistance that was coming from within me. I said, no way. Who can do that? That is a stupid thing to do. People say, if anyone strikes me on the right cheek, I will strike right back. I’m not stupid. I’m not a doormat. If anyone takes my coat by suing me, I’ll make sure to take it back and more. If anyone forces me to go one mile, never mind the one mile. If anyone forces me to do anything, I won’t do it simply because it was forced upon me. No one can force me to do anything. Give to everyone who begs from me, then I’ll be broke. This is ridiculous. It’s stupid. It’s crazy. You can easily put aside this kind of teaching by saying that it is too idealistic. We can’t survive with this kind of teaching especially in this day and age. This is a crazy thought, but I didn’t scratch it out. It still bothered me because it was the teaching of our Lord Jesus Christ. It was not a teaching of a crazy lunatic or self centered fanatic. It was our Lord Jesus Christ who gave us this teaching. So instead of putting aside, I reflected on it, read it again and again and again.The more I read it, I felt something beautiful about this teaching. I don’t know how much I can practice this in my life, but there is a beauty to it. I felt the deep love of Jesus for others.
Love Your Enemies
Right after this teaching, as you read further along, Jesus said, love your enemies. Love your enemies? Love and enemies don’t go together. It’s not a sentence that makes sense. Love your enemy? Love your neighbor makes sense, but love your enemies? It doesn’t make sense. These are not two words that go together, love and enemies.
Then I realized the love Jesus is talking about is very different from the love that I know, or most people know. The love Jesus is talking about is radically different.
Love your enemies. I want you to reflect on that. Love your enemies. Only when we understand this kind of love from Jesus, then what the Dalai Lama said is possible. Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible. Only when that kind of love is there, then what the Dalai Lama said can work.
The Opposite Extreme
What Jesus taught about turning the other cheek is one extreme. Yes, it is an extreme message, but the world is going the other extreme. People are running towards the other extreme. The world says, before they strike me on my right cheek, I will strike them first. Preemptive attack. Someone said, not only do we not love our enemies, we don’t even love our neighbors.
Choose to be Kind
Instead of ignoring the teaching of Jesus Christ as idealistic and unrealistic, we need to take that message deep in our heart. Kindness comes from the kind of love Jesus taught us. We can be rude in many situations. But my friends, choose to be kind. Whatever situation you may be in, choose to be kind. Choose your words to be kind. Choose your facial expressions to be kind. Choose for your life to be kind. If possible, choose to be kind and remember, it is always possible. If you can say first “Hello, hi”, don’t wait for other people to do so.
Be kind to each other. Be kind to humanity. Be kind to the earth. That’s what our garbage initiative is all about. Be kind. One word, one smile, one action that comes from kindness has a magical power to have impact on people. When you step out the door everyday in the morning, say to yourself, Lord, give me an opportunity for me to show kindness. Every morning when you step out the door, tell yourself, Lord, give me the opportunity for me to show my kindness. You won’t just find one opportunity, but you’ll be able to find many opportunities.
Opportunities to be Kind
Last Friday I was finishing up my sermon on kindness and I prayed a in the middle of it, “Lord let me live my life being kind”, and then as soon as I finished, “ding dong”. At the church, there’s a doorbell and I don’t usually go out. The secretary usually goes up and down, so I waited a bit, another “ding dong” came, and so I went out and then this one woman who was preparing lunch for KSM brought all these groceries and meat, so God gave me the opportunity to be kind. Even though I have a bad back, I carried heavy meat, and it was good. It was so strange that right there, God sent me this woman for me to be able to show kindness
As we live looking for the opportunity to be kind, you become happier, and you make everyone happier. When you’re rude, you become unhappy, and you make many people miserable.
Once I got into this elevator, and as soon as I walked in, there was a woman and she said, nice hair. What? Nice hair? My hair is my worst feature in my mind. Nobody tells me about my hair! I don’t usually do my hair, I just look briefly, but on that day, hearing “it’s not bad” as soon as I walked into the elevator, she made my day. I still talk about it. I will never forget that.
Being kind has a powerful impact on people. Happiness is very simple. Be kind. You don’t need to be a philosopher. You don’t need to be a doctor. You don’t need to be a lawyer to be kind. You don’t need to be a millionaire to be kind. And also one great thing about being kind is that you can be kind to anyone, even strangers. You can be kind. Be a kind person, simple as that.
As you try to be kind, you realize how proud you are, how problematic you are. You realize that you cannot even simply be kind to people. Don’t gossip. I don’t know why people gossip about people they don’t know very well. Say Nice things about people. Don’t talk behind people’s backs. That’s not a nice thing to do. Say good things, uplifting things about people. Being kind involves everything. Humility, a big heart, love, compassion, everything. It is a wonderful principal. Don’t be rude. Be kind.