Thursday 20th February 2020
I must admit I’ve never properly watched Love Island. I have a basic understanding of the premise, however after loosing large chunks of my life to Big Brother, around ten to fifteen years ago, I try to avoid all reality TV at all costs, as it’s too addictive and the behaviour of humans is just too fascinating.
Due to my lack of knowledge of reality TV and celebrity, Caroline Flack is not someone I’m aware of, or would know much about. However, her story and situation is so tragic. Someone who on the surface would seem to have everything; beauty, success, fame, relationship, money and talent but didn’t believe she had anything to live for. It is a tragedy if anyone’s self-worth and mental wellbeing is built on temporal things. Sadly, when these things are removed, people can be left feeling hopeless.
As Christians we believe our intrinsic worth is given to us by God, whose image we are made in, with all people being special to him. Regardless of where you’re from, what you’ve done or whatever people say about us, there are no circumstances that can change this.
If you’re feeling in anyway like this, I want to say God loves you so, so, so much. You are fearfully and wonderfully made and so special.
I’ve also been struck how the television and people on social media have reacted to this tragic event. In this country our media and newspapers appear to build people up and then smash them down. On social media people appear to relish putting people down. I’m often so shocked how people love denouncing and shouting at people on Facebook, often even Christians!
Laura Whitmore, a Radio 5 presenter, gave an emotional tribute to her friend. You can listen to it here. The thing that she said which seems to have struck a chord with a lot of people is: "Be Kind”, which is a fundamental biblical principle.
In the letter to the Corinthians the Apostle Paul was speaking into a church who’d forgotten to be kind!
The church had split into factions, was following different leaders and doctrinal emphasis. If it was today, I’m almost certain they’d be shouting at each other on Facebook and Twitter.
There was jealousy and quarrelling within the church. They were wrongly judging and boasting. They become professionals at condemning and rejecting unbelievers, while there was terrible sin taking place in the church. Church members were being humiliated for being poor. They were asking Paul questions about situations where they wanted yes or no religious binary answers about religious actions or activities, which they hoped, could be used to justify themselves. Relations had got so bad and tempers had got so fractious that members were taking each other to court!
Clearly there was not a lot of kindness going on!
I believe kindness lies at the heart of the Christian Gospel. Kindness is effectively the same as Grace (active love): giving someone something they don’t necessary deserve. Kindness is one face of the coin of love with the other side being mercy.
Consider for one moment how kind God has been to you!
Surely in the light of that, a Christian who regularly demonstrates unkindness towards people inside or outside the church has not grasped the heart of the Gospel.
This is the Apostle Pauls response to the Corinthian church.
Paul points out it doesn’t matter how righteous they think they are in what they do or say. How right they are about a subject or gifted or full of faith they may have been. How effective they may be at pointing out the sin of others in God’s word.
Paul exclaims without Love it doesn’t matter, in fact it gains the church nothing, and they (the church) without love are nothing!!
1 Corinthians 13 4:7
Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.
How many of the elements of love and things that are not love, do you demonstrate in your life? Take them one by one. I did it and I found it a challenging and scary experience!
As Christians we are people of the truth, however, truth must not be delivered unkindly as Paul demonstrates in this letter.
Jesus says the greatest commandments are to Love God and Love our neighbour (everyone) as ourselves and being kind is essential to that.
A church that doesn’t demonstrate love (grace and mercy, patience and kindness) is no church at all!
I pray for more kindness in the world and whole heartedly support the message ‘Be Kind’
At Community Church Blackburn I pray we will be filled with the Holy Spirit more and more, with the outcome of this being we’re filled with more and more of God’s love. Leading to us being a kind and generous people just like God has been with us.
So be kind.
Helpful bible passages to ponder
Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.
Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.
The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such things there is no law.
2 Peter 1:5-8
Make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Stephen Norcross is an elder, married to Lisa and living in Blackburn. Stephen works full time for Community Church Blackburn. Stephen studied music at university and uses his musical gifts leading worship. He also has a passion for bible teaching.