Love is patient, love is kind.
—1 Corinthians 13:4
Hanna Massad is a pastor of Gaza Baptist Church (near Israel). Hurrying through an alley in Gaza’s violent Jabaliya refugee camp one chilly morning, he carried some groceries to a needy Muslim family. Twenty feet away, a young Palestinian carefully wrapped his semiautomatic weapon in a prayer rug, set it into his bicycle’s milk-crate basket, and rode off.
Massad didn’t flinch. Concealed weapons are not rare in Gaza. Love of neighbor is. Massad believes his mission is to feed Gaza’s hungry and spread God’s grace in a land of enmity.
Time magazine reports that after 34 centuries of civilization, the Gaza Strip remains a place of despair and dispute, without an acre of lasting peace. Terrorism, corruption, military rule, hunger, sickness, and mental illness stew in the same pot.
The word for “kindness” in the original Greek text is chrestotes. The apostle Paul used this word to describe God’s incomprehensible kindness for people spiritually adrift (see Ephesians 2:7; Titus 3:4).
One scholar notes that in connection with human relationships chrestotes conveys the idea of being adaptable. Rather than requiring everyone to adapt to our needs and desires, through chrestotes we become adaptable to the needs of the people around us.
Do we exhibit that manner of kindness to those around us?
Father, help us to live out your love by showing your kindness to those around us. We know we can only do this through love. In your name we pray. Amen.
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