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Posts Tagged ‘N. T. Wright’

Apparently, there are at least three tools for breaking the potency of bitterness, anger and slander that grieve the Holy Spirit (and others): kindness, compassion and forgiveness. And in fact, I believe it’s the marriage of kindness and compassion that makes forgiveness possible.

Ephesians 4:32
Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.

Too often, we think of a kindness as polite niceties. Instead, I think it’s a choice to act in a way that is independent of the circumstances. Kindness is a habit, well-formed.

I’ve been reading a 2010 book by N.T. [Tom] Wright called “After You Believe” in which the good professor is putting forth the foundations for virtue and thereby, character. In the early chapters, he talks about the natural response to circumstances as being the evidence of virtue. And isn’t kindness one of these? We shouldn’t have to think about being kind.

The power of kindness became so popular at one point, there were bumper stickers and a Foundation advocating more kindness, just for the heck of it. And yet, it’s not really the norm for us.

And compassion? This requires an awareness of Other in a specific way. To express compassion, we must see, hear, and feel something of the Other. Without a relationship of some kind, I believe it’s only kindness. Compassion is the next level and implies a doing or a response to remedy the situation.

If kindness is touching someone’s hand, then compassion is putting something in the hand.

The two together create the perfect environment for forgiveness.

The father who forgives the drunk driver who killed his daughter, found compassion and kindness first. I met Jeffrey Vetter and the young man, Michael Jacoby, who drove the car.

Forgiveness must be fueled with something, and is not efficacious with words alone. The heart must be engaged because it is the heart that is healed.
(Fast Day 1)

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