It is I, speaking in righteousness, mighty to save.
The religious leaders thought they had finally trapped Jesus. Perhaps smugly, they brought out a woman who had been caught in adultery. They exposed her sin publicly, knowing their law required the death penalty for such a woman. Yet Jesus said, "If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her." At that, the leaders began to walk away, and only Jesus was left with the woman.
He said to her, "Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?"
"No one, sir," she answered.
"Then neither do I condemn you," Jesus said. "Go now and leave your life of sin" (John 8:7-11).
Jesus had every right to wield his power and boast of his perfection that day. Yet consider the kindness in his words. He helped the accusers gain a bigger perspective: Every one of us is a sinner. It is not our place to judge another person. God is the Judge. Then Jesus spoke words of kindness to the woman. He did not condone her sin, but he offered her a chance to choose a better life. Jesus's words were quietly powerful because of the love behind them.
We can learn a lot from Jesus's example. If we wait until the people around us rise to a higher standard before we speak words of kindness, we may never speak. But if we take every opportunity to show the power of kind words, God can work through us to change lives.
When you are tempted to think kindness shows weakness, remember that God shows his power through kind words.
Dr. Gary Chapman is the beloved best-selling author of The Five Love Languages and Love as a Way of Life. For more information, click here.