Love Kindness by Barry H. Corey
From the words of Micah 6 verse 8, "He has shown you, O mortal [man], what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy [kindness] and to walk humbly with your God," comes Corey's book Love Kindness. As it is my life verse I was eager to read a book based on loving mercy [kindness] and what Barry's thoughts were on what, how, loving mercy looks, in the hearts, words, and actions of Christians. .
Christians, so often, are given a bad reputation, sometimes because we deserve it; sometimes Christians have chosen not to be kind when faced with the sins of the sinner. Instead of loving the sinner, they show only hate for their sin. But, what about kindness? Mercy? The loving mercy of Christ. When Christ was confronted by sin he saw first, the sinner, he showed his love and mercy. Somewhere tucked within the book, (or maybe I heard it somewhere else just in the past week whilst reading Love Kindness) were the words, "We cannot change the mind and the hearts of sinners, only our love and kindness, that is of God, can lead others to repentance..." I'll give a 'for instance': I believe homosexuality is a sin. But. I will not change the mind of a homosexual or the heart of a homosexual toward the heart and mind of Jesus unless - I show them love and mercy. Show them love. Give them only kindness. It is only when a sinner sees Christ IN ME will they see their own sin - not by my words (unless those words are kind and loving), only my actions displayed through love and mercy. One can debate homosexuality if they want to. My mind will not be changed regarding the sin of homosexuality as the word of God is quite clear and concise on this particular sin, but my heart and words and actions will be kind and loving toward the homosexual.
So, was this book all about loving the homosexual. No. But, it was about loving the sinner. Being kind - instead. I think Barry Corey used homosexual as an example of how we can be kind as Christians, because the debate of homosexuality is such a forefront of cultural debate and confusion and stance. Christians who choose to show love and kindness to the gay community are ousted, spewed hate from other Christians as somehow they've watered down their faith, yet they are, instead, and in fact, living out their faith. Christians can show love and kindness without liking the sin, or agreeing with the sin, or saying it's okay to sin, instead they are just loving the sinner.
Once, I figured out this book was more a memoir on kindness I read it eagerly, ready to hear more kindness, love, and mercy through those individual, some very small, stories. I think our lives can tell this kind of story also. Individual acts where we've chosen kindness over debate. Kindness over hate. Kindness over disagreeing. We don't have the right to call out someone's sin unless we've first laid down before them love and mercy. What does this look like? Corey, I believe, states it rather quite well, "In today’s polarized culture, we are often pulled toward one extreme or the other, soft centers or hard edges. I’m proposing a different approach, a third way. Rather than the harshness of firm centers and hard edges, and rather than the weakness of spongy centers and soft edges, why don’t we start with kindness? Kindness is the way of firm centers and soft edges."
One of the first Christian songs I learned in that little church in Oklahoma where I accepted Jesus into my heart was They'll Know We are Christians By Our Love. If every Christian would do justly, and love mercy [kindness], and walk humbly with God, then more non-believers would become believers of Christ - Christians, because of our love for Christ displayed in our love of others.
Because I was able to solidify, and workout, my heart towards doing justly, loving mercy [kindness], and walking humbly within the scope of today's insane societal challenges I will easily give Love Kindness - 4 Stars.