The first casualties of upheaval can be love, kindness, and patience. But crisis is also a moment when love for God & one another can spring up. For 150 days, starting on 17th March 2020, I will write 300 words based on one of the 150 psalms in the bible. How can I find and give love in the midst of coronavirus?
“What is the most important characteristic of a Christian leader?” I thought about the answer for a while, and whilst there are a number of things that seem important – for me, there is one that rises to the top of the list.
Passion. Decisiveness. Communication. Courage. Spirituality. All are important, but they are secondary to:
There is a phrase in the midst of the riches of Psalm 138 that stands out:
6 Though the Lord is exalted, he looks kindly on the lowly; though lofty, he sees them from afar.
This characteristic of God is extraordinary and unique. God, the creator of the universe, the one who has more power than anyone, who is wiser and purer than anyone – from his exalted place – he looks kindly on the lowly – he sees them.
Every human being has felt loneliness – sometimes for all of their lives. You and I have felt alone, not knowing what to do or where to go. And the promise of this Psalm is that God looks kindly on us. He sees and knows.
In chapter 16 of the book of Genesis, the story is told of the woman Hagar who is rejected, kicked out and alone – and God comes to find her. She says to God “You are the God who sees me” (El Roi – in Hebrew).
This is why kindness, looking at those who are lower than us, should be at the heart of what it is to be a Christian (and especially a Christian leader) – because it is like God.
Incidentally, there is so much else in this Psalm that is good, really good. For example, verses 1-3:
1 I will praise you, Lord, with all my heart; before the ‘gods’ I will sing your praise. 2 I will bow down towards your holy temple and will praise your name for your unfailing love and your faithfulness, for you have so exalted your solemn decree that it surpasses your fame. 3 When I called, you answered me; you greatly emboldened me.
I memorised verse 3 – and have prayed it hundreds of times. Asking God for boldness.
But today – let us ask God to make us kind – or at least kinder. Then we will be a bit more like him.