During the season of Super Bowl I (1966-1967), the great quarterback Bart Starr had a little incentive scheme going with his oldest son. For every perfect paper Bart Junior brought home from school, Starr gave him ten cents. After a particularly rough game against St. Louis, in which Starr felt he had performed poorly, he returned home weary and battered, late at night after a long plane ride. But he couldn’t help feeling better when he reached his bedroom. There attached to his pillow was a note: “Dear Dad, I thought you played a great game. Love, Bart.” Taped to the note were two dimes. (The Christian Athlete)
When I read this story I thought of First Corinthians 13:4 where is says, “love is kind…” How thoughtful Bart Junior was for the act of kindness extended toward his father. We can imagine how moved Bart Senior must have been when he found that note, especially when he saw two dimes. It was like love was returned twofold for the love the son had for his father (cp. Luke 6:38).
When kindness is given to someone in such a personal, sacrificial way we can understand what love is all about. Kindness is the insignia of a loving heart. In fact, one cannot have true love without showing kindness toward others. The Apostle Paul wrote, “And so, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience…” (Colossians 3:12).
On Valentine’s Day, we usually think of Cupid and the romantic type of love. So, couples traditionally show their affection by giving things like a heart-decorated card, a box of candy, or flowers. To add to the occasion, the couple will go out to a nice restaurant, or give each other a special gift. These marks of kindness are tokens of our love. They are accompanied with a kiss, a warm embrace, holding hands and those three magic words, “I love you” which comes from the heart. It’s been stated that true love doesn’t consist of holding hands—it consists of holding hearts.
But beyond the romantic aspects of love there is spiritual love. I believe spiritual love is what makes romantic love true love. That’s because spiritual love runs deeper. In fact, it’s the undercurrent of romantic love. For when Paul said, “Love is kind,” he was not merely speaking of intimate love between two people or even brotherly love. No, he was speaking of the highest kind of love we can show: Divine love. It’s the kind of love that comes only from God our Father through Jesus, his beloved Son.
When we say that love is kind, we are talking about a measureless, indescribable love that finds God and his Son as our deepest, dearest, dependable Source. Consider what Paul wrote to the Church at Ephesus: “… so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; and that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God.…(Ephesians 3:17-19, New American Standard Bible, NASB).
If Christ is in our hearts, we will love in such a way, that we will not only be able to be kind to those we naturally love, but those who we find are difficult to love. That’s because Christ-like kindness is the ability to love people more than they really deserve. We find that when we are rooted and ground in the love of Christ, we can even love our enemies. Imagine that! Would you be able to have such a love as that? Would you be able to sincerely show an act of kindness to someone who treats you ugly or bugs you constantly or may even do you harm? This is what Jesus spoke about in Matthew 5:44-48 and Luke 6:27-36.
With the love of Christ in our hearts, we will be amazed at the way kindness affects our relationship with others. It’s a healer of broken hearts. It’s a warm breeze in a frigid climate that brings comfort and peace. It’s a radiant heat that melts the icebergs of fear, distrust, and unhappiness. It’s love in action.
Enjoy this video feature from First Corinthians 13, the Love Chapter:
Loving kindness creates a lasting bond between loved ones. I don’t doubt that Bart Starr had an even greater amount of pride and appreciation for his son when he found that note and those two dimes attached to his pillow. Even after a long, rough day, the day ended brighter for the football star when his young Starr showed an act of kindness he would always remember.
Here is Izzy Hunzeck singing, Love Is Patient, Love is Kind:
Good News to YOU!