Tony Evans - Kindness In The Culture
Hello, I'm Dr. Tony Evans and I am so excited about our kindness in the culture campaign. We want to promote an atmosphere of kindness throughout our whole land. And so this campaign invites you to get a kindness card that you are to use and ask God to guide you at least once a week to show kindness to someone who needs a kind word spoken, or a kind act done. And if we can get millions of people doing that, we can change the atmosphere. You do the act of kindness, you pray for the person, you share the good news of the gospel with them. And with this card they will be reminded that kindness does matter and hopefully they'll pass it on to someone else as well.
You know, life is full of hurt and loss, it's full of needs and struggles, disappointments. I know personally what that feels like and that's why we wanna make available to you our book and Bible study, 'Hope for the Hurting.' It's designed not only to encourage you as you face life's difficulties, but you can also get it and give it to a friend who you know is hurting and needs encouragement from God to deal with the weight of life that's pressing on them right now. The book and Bible study is being made available to you for a gift of any amount, and your generous contribution will not only allow us to make this product available to you, but your generosity will allow us to spread this campaign all over the nation. If you agree that the world is too mean, and that kindness needs to be something that becomes normal in the culture, help us to send a message, it's time for kindness in the culture. And when you do, ask for your copy of 'Hope for the Hurting' to encourage someone else.
COVID is not the only deadly virus that we are contending with today. We are having to deal today with a pandemic of meanness, that is creating an atmosphere of vitriol, an atmosphere of hatred, an atmosphere of dishonor, disrespect, that is becoming normalized in our culture. Atmosphere matters. If you go into a restaurant and it doesn't smell good, it doesn't matter how good the food was prepared. Because if the smell is bad, it contaminates even good things that may be on the platter or the plate.
Today our atmosphere is being contaminated by a sense of selfishness. Where if I have to hurt you to get what I want, if I have to smash and grab to get what I want, if I've gotta cuss you out to let you know how serious I am, if I've gotta troll the internet and social media so that I can react negatively to everything I see, if I've gotta find ways to cancel you out so that your thoughts don't matter, and what you and I are doing is contributing to a culture of vitriol, negativity, and meanness. It would be one thing if I were only talking about sinners doing it. You might expect sinners to be mean, but I know some sinners who are nicer than some Christian folk.
Who cuss as much, fuss as much, who are mean spirited, who are self-centered, and who are not reflecting the Spirit of Christ in how they relate to others. And when people talk about you or me or us collectively as a people of God, can they say at this place or when they are around you, they sense the heart of God, the love of God, and what I'm calling the kindness of God? Our culture is disintegrating at warp speed. The Bible says in Romans 2:4, "It is the kindness of God that ought to lead you to repentance". In other words, God hasn't done to you all he could, based on what you and I have done to him. It is the fact that he doesn't react every time we sin, we blow it, he doesn't do us in every time we fail. He says, "It's because of his kindness". Psalm 117 verse 2 says, that God's kindness is great. Psalm 119 verse 76, "His kindness brings you comfort, and his mercies are new every day".
It is in kindness that we are not destroyed, Scripture says, given the holiness of God. And so he expects his people to be ambassadors of kindness. So, kindness is niceness on public display. People ought to know how nice you are by how kind you talk, walk and act. And so this should be the mindset, we are to be penetrating the culture with a different atmosphere. Philippians 2, where we are told, we are to have, verse 5, this attitude in yourselves which was in Christ Jesus. What attitude? Verse 3, "Do nothing from selfish or empty conceit, but with humility of mine regard one another as more important than yourselves. Do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. Have this mind in you that was also in Christ Jesus, who being in the form of God thought it not robbery to be equal with God, but made himself of no reputation, but became a slave, enduring the cross".
If Jesus were selfish, no one would be saved, no one would be on their way to heaven. But he was willing to not be boujee in heaven, even though he had the right to hold that position, but he recognized that there was some messed up folk down here. And God in his love, reached out through the sacrifice of Christ and the gift of the cross, beginning with the birth of Christ in order to provide redemption for men, for me and you. He says, "Have this mind in you that was also in Christ Jesus". To only be concerned about how you are doing and to have no sense, to be a cul-de-sac Christian rather than a conduit saint. Where there's a way in you wanna be blessed, but you can never be looked at to be a blessing, because you have become, we have become a selfish saint.
1 Corinthians 13 verse 4 says, "Love is kind". If you're unkind, you do not love. You don't love your children if you're mean to them, you don't love your mate, if you are cursing them out. You can use the word love, but he says the love that God has is kind, it's not meanness, certainly that's not a pattern. Love doesn't cuss you out. Love doesn't put you down. Love doesn't reduce your dignity, because love is kind, and kindness is niceness in function, not in philosophy. The way we talk, the way we walk, the way we act, the way we relate, the way we communicate on social media. He says, "Love is kind". What God is expecting us to do, is to demonstrate kindness through our good words and through our good works. Kindness is demonstrated through good words.
Paul talks about these words in Ephesians 4. He says in verse 29, "Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear. Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God". That is by bad speech. He says verse 31, "Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clammier and slander". Putting people down, "Be put away from you along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving each other just as God in Christ also has forgiven you". He says, watch your mouth. Let no unwholesome word come out of your mouth. There should be no serious Christian who is known for their profanity, who is known for their vitriol, hatred of speech.
I know we are not perfect, but what should be known about you is Colossians 4 verse 6. "He seasons his words with salt". We need Christians who know how to use their mouth. Who know how to, he says, "To speak grace to the hearer". Speak truth, we don't deny truth, but when they hear it, they know we care, when they hear it, they know we wanna help not hurt. When they hear it, we're not just venting, we're ministering. When you go to the secular society today, when you look at the normal language on television today, when you look at how people are being evil to one another through the various forms of social media today, you and I are not to be caught up in that, we're not to adopt that. 'Cause that's not who we are. He says, I want you to reflect Christ, have this mind in you and your words should make it clear in your speech that God controls your tongue. And that should be accompanied by good works.
Matthew 5:16 says, "Let men see your good works and glorify your Father who is in heaven". 1 Timothy 6 verses 17 to 19 says, "Those of you who have been blessed, you are to be rich in good works". In other words, the more God has blessed you, the more blessing you should be to others. Ephesians 2:10, after telling us in 8 and 9 that we've been saved by grace, come to verse 10 says, "We are his workmanship created in Christ Jesus for good works, which he hath created beforehand, that we should walk in them". Good works. Your good words should follow up with good works. Things you do and things you say that demonstrate kindness in a mean culture. We need contagious kindness. 'Cause it's just, you just run into it, you know it's just there. It ought to be spread out through everybody who names the name of Christ, that I seek opportunities to reflect Christ in my kindness. Good works.
Good works are different than good things. Let me make the distinction. Sinners can do good things. Atheists can do good things. Pagans can do good things. You don't need to be a Christian to do a good thing. Non-Christians build hospitals, non-Christians build orphanages, non-Christians are philanthropists. Non-Christians do good things all the time. You and I have not been called to do good things. He says, "Let men see your good works". What's the difference between a good thing and a good work? A good thing seeks to help somebody, a good work also seeks to help somebody in God's name. In other words, it's only a good work, if God is clearly attached to it. If you just did it 'cause you're a nice person, that's a nice thing, it's not a good work. "Let men see your good work and glorify your Father who is in heaven".
If you don't attach God to it, you are good, you did a good thing, but you didn't do a biblical work. A good work seeks to do three things. One: it seeks to bring people into the kingdom, 'cause you wanna see people saved. Two: it seeks to help people become more useful for the kingdom, that's discipleship. Or it brings people the benefits of the kingdom to their situations in life. That is, helps them to improve a scenario or a situation in God's name. And what makes a good thing a good work, is that you're not only help in time, but you attach it to eternity. And that's what should make you different, me different in our good works. And so men are to see our good works in evangelism and discipleship and in service to the improvement of their wellbeing in life.
See, if you are poor and you don't have enough to make it, that's bad, but we can do things to help you recover from that at some level. If you're homeless, that's bad, but we can come up with something to at least keep you out of the rain on bad days. If you don't have a lot of money, that's not good, but we can help you get by, there enough people will drive by and do something for you. But if you die without Jesus Christ, you've just been hit with a blow you can't recover from, and that's why our good works can't just be niceness, it must attach itself as much as possible or always to the spiritual, but much as possible to the eternal.
When we become so individualistic and so American, with our desire for ourselves that we don't reach back and be willing to touch the lives of others, we're not bringing hope to the culture, we're just bringing hope to ourselves. We're looking for people who will walk through the door, not just looking for their blessing, but wanting to know how they can be a blessing. Folks that you don't have to beg to serve, you don't have to trick to serve because they understand the goodness of God. Kindness is needed because there's so much pain. Should remind us of the story of Luke 10 verses 30 to 37, of the good Samaritan. The lawyer asks Jesus, "Who's my neighbor? Who's my neighbor"? 'Cause Jesus says, he says, "The great commandment is to love God, and to love your neighbor". To love God and to love your neighbor, and he says, "These two commandments go together".
If you love God, but don't love people, you don't love God. If you love God, but you are mean to people, you're mean to God. He says, "The two are attached". So who's my neighbor, who do I help? 'Cause I can't help everybody. Who do I help Jesus, who's my neighbor? And then Jesus tells the story. He says, "There was a man on the Jericho road, who was robbed and he was beaten half past dead". It could have gone either way. He says, "The priest and the Levites are on the Jericho road," he tells us who they are, 'cause that tells us what they were doing, they were coming from the temple. In other words, they were leaving church. Like when we give the benediction today and you're leaving church, they were leaving church. I'm sure they may have talked about the sermon, they may have talked about the singing. The priest and the Levite are leaving church. And they saw the man whose life had been put in shambles, 'cause he was robbed, he was in despair.
Many people today have been robbed by evil structures, predatory loans, personal choices, catastrophes, foreclosures, abandonments and all manner of evil. The priest and the Levite were too busy praying and praising, coming from church, to notice the man. They were too holy to be kind. Too holy to be kind. So it says, "Then comes a Samaritan," whoa! A man of another race, a man that the Jews didn't like. Here comes a man who was to be rejected because of his melanin, his hue, his skin color. It says that, "He saw the man, had compassion on the man, and went to work to change his situation". How do you know who your neighbor is? Three things. Any need you see, any need you feel compassion, and any needs you can do something about. You see it, you feel it and you can address it. You can't meet every need, but if you see it and then God tugs your heart, the Holy Spirit says, "Don't keep driving," the Holy Spirit says, "Pause".
He's not gonna say that with everything you see, he's only gonna say that from time to time. But when you see it and then you feel it and you have capacity to wisely address it, God just told you who your neighbor is, regardless of their skin color. Yes, you should come and want God's favor, yes, you should come and wanna be blessed, yes, you should come and wanna see God's hand operating in your life, but one of the things I tell people, is when you go to God and ask him to do something for you which is valid, let him know if he does it for you how it will bless somebody other than you. Because God is very interested in you, when he knows you gonna be like him, and you're going to be a blessing and not just only ask for yourself to be blessed. God wants to use us. You know you make a call, you make a call and they'll say, "This call is being recorded for quality assurance".
This call is being recorded for quality, we are listening in on this call, to make sure that you're being treated like you supposed to be treated by our representative. Guess what? When God looks at our lives, this life is being recorded for quality assurance. And when you and I stand before God and we go through the judgment seat of Christ and he looks at all the stuff that we messed up as Christians, and we're looking at our tape being rolled and we're going, "Ooh, ah, I thought that, I went there, I did that, I did that, we're going, ah". You know, and we go, you know, we're there, the judgment seat of Christ to determine our reward and it don't look good. He checks out that side, and it looks good, but there is another tape, and that tape will look at all the acts of kindness that you did. All the acts of reaching out to others, of being kind to others that you did. And James chapter 2 verse 13 says, "Mercy will overrule judgment".
So if it's bad on this side, but God saw that you knew how to love and be kind on this side, this tape can overrule that tape, so that you can get a greater reward, even though there are all kind of flaws in your own tape recording. He wants this to be a mantra, he wants this to be our atmosphere, he wants this to be how we roll. And so, no there are no celebrities in here, or some names are known more than other names, and you may not be able to stop somebody treating you a certain way, but I'm talking about how you view yourself. How I view myself. Even if you are treated like a celebrity, you should think like a servant. Even if you are treated like a celebrity, you should function with the mindset of a servant. But you can't help everybody, but you do all the good you can, by all the means you can, and all the ways you can, in every place you can, all the times you can, for all the people you can, you do the best you can. Don't let all the problems in the world keep you from doing nothing. Keep me from doing nothing.
And so I wanna challenge all of us, to help affect the atmosphere in your home by being kind to the members of your family or extended family. Tell the truth, yeah, we don't skip wrong, we don't endorse wrong, but we are to look for act opportunities to be kind, in word and deed. So you do the act of kindness, you always offer to pray, and most people will never turn down prayer. You know, it's a neighbor who's hurt, neighbor lost their loved one, you cook a meal for somebody. It could be any small thing or big thing that you see, that you feel, that you're able to address, and then you look for the opportunity to share the gospel. I've got six or seven of 'em, I keep in my wallet, and if we all, the Holy Spirit led each of us to do one thing a week, just one thing a week, that's thousands of people who will know that God cares 'cause we just didn't do nice things, we did it in God's name. That's what we want to be as a people of God.