Jared got in trouble at school today. Better put, he was rightfully called out for "kindness hypocrisy" by his peers and he's taking it hard.
My son is an emotional but passionate young man who loves being a local superhero and revels in the idea that he's a part of making his city a better place by spreading the message of kindness. He's now taking a more vocal role into any mic he can get his hands on. I love that he's learning how to take a stand for things that are GOOD... and I love that he's learning real life lessons about what can happen when you do.
He was telling his class this morning about our upcoming weekend being the Honorary Chairpeople for Big Brothers and Big Sister's annual "Bowl for Kids Sake" campaign. It's been amazing. Our faces are on posters and Wendy's placemats all over town. We keep getting "I'm eating on your face right now" emails!
But this morning, his classmates caught him being unkind and accused publicly, "You're supposed to be Kid Kindness. THAT'S not what a KINDNESS superhero would do!" He took it hard.
Truth is, Jared experienced this morning what he'll experience many more times throughout his life. Something that I've experienced many times too. Something that anyone with the courage to be evangelical [Not even necessarily in a religious context (Characterized by ardent or crusading enthusiasm)] about anything GOOD experiences...
... not living up to what you preach.
Listen... I prance around town in an inescapable red cape and mask claiming to be "Captain Kindness". Both jokingly and not, numerous people have caught me being... ummm... the opposite of kind... and pointed out a range of truths from irony to hypocrisy.
Captain Kindness doesn't claim to be kindness incarnate. He's a reminder to a community (me included) that when we choose kindness (even though it often goes against our human instincts) it changes things for the better.
This is not the first time I've been on the receiving end of this accusation. I hope you've been called a hypocrite too... or you likely aren't espousing much of any GOOD! We try to do good and WANT to do good, but even Paul, who wrote most of the New Testament, was befuddled by his own inability to do the things he really wanted to!
It's a bit comedic for Big Red sometimes because of the public cartoony character nature of the good Captain. But as a Christian, I'm called to BY JESUS share The Message of Christ. This is our great commission... and a high level of good to say the least. It's the story of the sinless Son of God who gave his life for wretches like me so we could ALL share in the bounty of His Kingdom.
Again and again I fall so short of the lifestyle of righteousness Christ modeled for us. Many times, as one who likes to live life out loud, people see the mess that is Dave (warts and all) and they are sure to remind me that I'm not practicing what I'm preaching. I know it. I'm workin' at it.
It's tough. I can relate with the plight of Kid Kindness. It's mankind's plight. We are to share good, grow into good, live good, teach good... while contending internally with the reality that we AREN'T good incarnate deep down.
The prophet Isaiah wrote:
"All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags"
This is the beautiful part of the story. John the Baptist as the forerunner (according to Jesus) began to show people the way to righteousness... then he baptized Him saying "Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world". Then this Jesus began to do crazy things things like wash the feet of "unworthy" imperfect fishermen. Craziness. He even said...
"Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven."
... KNOWING that we couldn't completely live out the righteousness we'd be sharing, living, preaching. Nutty ideas that people didn't get. THEN Jesus left encouraging his buddies who were about to get societally squashed with,
"... let me say it again, this truth: It's better for you that I leave. If I don't leave, the Friend won't come. But if I go, I'll send him to you. When he comes, he'll expose the error of the godless world's view of sin, righteousness, and judgment: He'll show them that their refusal to believe in me is their basic sin; that righteousness comes from above, where I am with the Father..."
We're not saved and anointed by OUR righteousness. It's through HIS righteousness. We'll be persecuted for even trying... but we get to live and work with The Holy Spirit (The Friend) to see good happen. And when we get ripped, we just say, "I know I messed up. Sorry. Doh! I'm just a sinner who has hope for something better because of Jesus. Let's do better together OK?"
It's not that we don't try... work... change ourselves. We do. But the concept that it's only through Christ that we can participate in this Holy Goodness, that's the real key for which Jesus came and died and rose again. I hope to be able to communicate this grace to Kid Kindness later. But the truth is, it'll happen again. And that's OK. And we'll keep speaking and living out the message that kindness can change our city BY good INTO good. And we'll keep succeeding hopefully more than failing.
Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.
Galatians 6: 9-10