I am not by nature a kind person. I am sarcastic and often caustic to those around me, friend or foe. There are many reasons for me to be more kind, partly because we are commanded to “love our enemies”, “do good to them who despitefully use you” and to “pay back evil with good.” But if I try to do this in my own strength, I will fail, because I am weak. I can do nothing without Christ (John 15:5).
I am now in a situation where I must trust Christ to work through me to do good to others, and that takes cooperation from me, because the Holy Spirit will not force these good acts upon me. That brings me to my unbelieving friends, because I have to trust that God will be faithful to deliver these good works to them, despite the fact that they do not believe in Him.
Is it possible for the Holy Spirit to perform in this manner? Yes, He is God. Who could stop Him? Does He want to deliver blessings for curses, through my cooperation? Yes, He commanded us to bless them that curse us, etc. Is the agnostic or atheist able to hedge against the kindness delivered by God or prevent reception of the blessing in any way? No! They do not acknowledge the existence of God, so how can they resist the actions of one who does not exist? In order to do so, they would have to admit that there is a God and protest, “God is trying to make me look bad by giving me blessings I do not deserve!” Don’t hold your breath for that to happen.
I think that many atheists/agnostics are not inclined to truly disbelieve in God as much as they really are “disappointed” by God or angry with God about something that has happened in their life, or they have other “God” issues. It becomes a convenient mechanism to deny what they do not understand. Well, I do not always understand God or his workings either. I can light a match or curse the darkness. I have decided to light the match of “God Enlightenment” to try to understand these mysteries of life, because “cursing the darkness” leaves me no viable or productive recourse. And that brings me to the subject at hand….
Why should I hate someone who examines the same evidence and comes to a different conclusion? Why heap another layer of grief on someone when they are suffering already? I do not achieve any glory by doing evil to unbelievers, but I do please God by blessing them. What to do? Let me take a nanosecond to decide…I choose Christ’s way, again! I know the history of religious people is littered with those who would kill others with opposing views, but isn’t hate and murder part of the province of The Evil One? Why cater to him? How would history be different if all religious people were more tolerant?
Kindness is a learned behavior, not innate at all. We all must seek a higher power to be a consistently kind person. This is where John 15:5 comes in again, for truly, we cannot practice consistently kind behavior without the power of the Holy Spirit. Kindness will win the day for our Lord, not hate or retaliation. Believer or not, the world will be a much better place if we all were more Christ-like in our actions. And that is why I am kind to atheists and agnostics.
My prayer for all of us today is that we might know Christ better than to think that He wants us to hurt others!