Faithlife Sermons

Love Kindness

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Doreen was a learner. She loved learning and she loved inspiring others to learn. In her learning and in her teaching, Doreen combined learning to gain knowledge with learning to improve her abilities, character and integrity. This is in part why she had such a tremendous impact on those around her. She intentionally sought to know, understand, and be a better person. In this, she lived out the Bible passage I just read. Do justice, love kindness, walk humbly with God.
In this, Doreen helps us to see the God she humbly walked with. She walked with Jesus, who worked in and through her, producing in her his character, his justice and kindness. You see, Jesus came to do justice and demonstrate loving kindness.
Do you recall learning something in school? For some of us, that was a long time ago. For others, it was yesterday. I remember learning about basketball. My teacher first taught us the rules and techniques. We learned about passing, dribbling and making baskets. After telling us how to do these things, after we learned the facts and figures, we had to do it. It wasn’t enough to learn about dribbling, we had to actually dribble a basketball. I learned a valuable lesson, gaining knowledge and gaining ability are not the same thing. I could have shared all the knowledge I’d gained about basketball, but that didn’t mean I could play basketball.
Everyone has done wrong things in life. We know that if we are caught speeding, that we will have to pay a penalty. We’ve broken the law, and we have to pay the fine. God created the whole universe, and he created humanity to live according to his perfect moral character. But humanity chose to disobey. Because of this, all are guilty.
Jesus came to do justice. He came to pay the penalty for us. In this, he satisfied God’s justice. He offered himself in your place, in my place, that’s kindness, justice and kindness all in one.
Throughout Jesus’ ministry, he did justice. When someone needed healing, he healed them. When tens of thousands needed food, he fed them. When people were ignorant and in the dark, he taught them, and brought them into the light. When people were ostracized and rejected by society, by those who considered themselves better than others, Jesus welcomed them and treated them with respect.
Doesn’t all that sound familiar? Didn’t we see that in Doreen? The words of Doreen’s obituary speak to her integrity and justice. As one who faced injustice, as one who received scorn, derision, mockery and offensive behaviour, especially in school—sinful people always focus on what’s different and therefore wrong about others in comparison to themselves—Doreen could’ve responded in kind. But because Jesus lived in her heart, she responded with justice and kindness.
Doreen stood up for others, particularly for those who couldn’t, weren’t sure of, or wouldn’t stand up for themselves. Her passion for helping others, for thinking of others, motivated her to learn, to go back to school, earn her degree and then empower others to do the same.
Doreen was kind. She treated everyone the same. Like Jesus, she wasn’t a pushover. But like Jesus, she told it like it was to those who needed straightening out, and she encouraged those who needed encouragement.
It also means that you could go to church all your life and merely learn about God, about what Jesus did on the cross for us, what it means to be like Jesus, hear all kinds of instructions on being like Jesus, but never actually being like Jesus.
Her kindness moved her to consider others above herself. I’m sure she met many people who dismissed her on sight, only to respect her later. Kindness doesn’t mean being a doormat. Kindness means looking for, and seeing the best in others. Kindness means seeking to develop the well-being of others.
Doreen was a learner. But she was also a doer. She didn’t just learn about leadership, she was a leader. She didn’t simply learn what God required of her, she did it.
Doreen’s life was a living example of . She knew that God is good. She knew and understood what God required of her. There are many people who believe they know what God requires of them, and they go to great lengths to prove it. They point to their donations, their financial sacrifices, or their perfect church attendance, even when they were hacking up a lung. They point to all kinds of outward examples that don’t come out of an inner reality. You listen, but it doesn’t take long to realise that what they say doesn’t line up with what they do. Or what they do doesn’t line up with a heart for God.
This is what Doreen did in her family, in her nieces and nephews, in her classes as a student and then as a teacher. Her kindness was displayed in the way she lived each and every day of her life.
In contrast, Doreen’s life matched up with God’s requirement of her: do justice, love kindness, walk humbly with God.
Perhaps it was a result of the injustices she suffered, simply because she looked different from other people. She lived with Turner’s syndrome, which made her short; short of stature or height, but not short of character, achievements, or ability. Perhaps that’s what moved her to be just, to speak up for others, to pour out her live into the lives of her students, to encourage them to become more, to do more, to strive for and achieve more!
Doreen was who she was in no small part because of her family. Her dad, her mom, her siblings, all influenced her, even as she has and continues to influence them. Being one of five children teaches you many important life lessons: how to share, how to stand up for yourself, how to work well with others. In family, we learn how to do justice, love kindness.
Doreen’s parents also taught her how to walk humbly with God. Of the three things in this verse, this is the hardest to do. To walk humbly requires us to be honest. It requires us to be real. It requires us to look in the mirror and see, really see how good and bad we really are.
Doreen’s humility inspired her to seek understanding. It inspired her to dig deep in her relationship with God, by studying the connections between our inner and outer lives. Who we are inside affects who we are on the outside. She understood, that to be a person of integrity, justice, kindness, she needed to be humble and honest in her walk with God.
She simply was humble, and walked with God. She kept the commandments, love God, love others. How do you do this? Do we do this by counting our church attendance? Do we do this by comparing which church we attend? Do we do this by looking at others?
She simply was humble, and walked with God. She kept the commandments, love God, love others. How do you do this? Do we do this by counting our church attendance? Do we do this by comparing which church we attend? Do we do this by looking at others?
In walking with God, she knew God was with her. Where she was, God was. Facing her surgery, knowing that it would either restore her health or send her home to Jesus, she trusted that no matter what, God was with her.
That was God’s promise to her. She knew it, she lived it.
That’s God’s promise to you, to me.
Will you let Jesus do justice for you, accepting his payment for your wrongs? Will you let him pour out his loving kindness on you, so that you in turn will be kind to others? Will you walk humbly with God, being real and honest about yourself, and that you need Jesus to live in you?
Don’t get me wrong, the right church community should be a place where you can flourish, grow, be challenged and receive love.
Let’s let Doreen's life, her passion, her love, her kindness, inspire all of us to live as she did, do justice, love kindness and walk humbly with God. Amen.
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