Kindness is a language that is rarely misunderstood. I have two neighbors who regularly greet each other from their respective porches across the street from each other. The other day, one neighbor raised his hand in friendly greeting to the other and shouted several words into the wind. My other neighbor shouted back, “I know you are saying something kind. You, too!” Both smiled broadly to the other and went on their ways.
Even a Grinch can spot kindness a mile away. Luke’s lawyer is hoping for a legal definition in his attempt to justify himself, but Jesus does not condemn him for this. He lets kindness define itself by the hero’s actions in this story. The lawyer understands immediately.
The fact that the Samaritan is an outcast makes Jesus’ iconic lesson even more clear. The importance of loving one another is understood best by those who have felt unloved. The Samaritan knows firsthand what fearing an attack on a lonely road is like.
And the heart circumscribed by the law recognizes clear evidence when he sees it. Loving your neighbor requires kind actions that will stand as physical evidence in a court of law.
Jesus calls us to do justice, love mercy, and care for the unloved, one neighbor at a time.
When have we tried to justify our inaction in helping others and heard our own words ring hollow? Why is being kind the best remedy for any broken relationship with God or our neighbor?
Lord, whenever we are in doubt about what to say or do, help us speak the language of kindness. Amen.