What one attribute would you hope for all SCBC students? For me, it is the strength of kindness.

I write to you after watching SCBC win 3 end of season grand finals. I saw a combination of football and netball games. Common in each was the noticeable, positive attitude of our competitors. We were tenaciously competitive, yet honourably respectful; to opponents and the authorities managing the games. While watching the games, it became apparent to me that it is possible to be both competitively rigorous and thoughtfully kind at the same time. Gentleness was a strength that was evident when SCBC players showed restraint in order to minimise accidental injury to the opposition, during a contested ball. In old language, it’s called good sportsmanship.

kindness-graphicKindness is the quality of being friendly, generous, and considerate. Tender-heartedness is an attribute of the strong. Gentleness reflects strength. It is not to be mistaken for weakness. Attached to kindness is the power of self-control, and compassion. Kindness is referred to in the Bible as evidence of God’s extravagant, unreserved and unconditional love. ‘But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law’ (Galatians 5:22,23).

Kindness is acknowledged by many as a desirable attribute; a virtue that is good. Colin McGinn is a well known, well published modern day Philosopher. He came from a blue collar family, then excelled at university. He wrote an article called: ‘Why not be a Bad Person?’ (1993). He is an atheist. With rational conviction, he says: ‘Kindness is largely the province of the heart. It’s a matter of having generous feelings towards others, desiring not that they suffer, acting in ways that spring from concern for their well-being. A kind person is … often said to be good-hearted. Kindness is close to compassion, but wider, since it includes not merely a reaction to suffering, but also informs every encounter with others. A kind person is solicitous [concerned] for other people’s feelings, tries not to hurt them, still less to hurt their bodies, and is distressed when others are in distress. A kind person treats the happiness of others as if it were their own happiness. Kindness is impartial and uncalculating, and not dependent on the vagaries [fluctuations] of personal affection. It is the ultimate basis for civility and “good manners” – treating others with decency and consideration, as if they matter, as if they exist. To be kind is to be generous and tender of spirit, not miserly and harsh. It is the healing balm of human relations, instead of the serrated blade. Kindness is good. People should be kind.’

Colin McGinn differentiates between kindness and love. In his opinion: ‘Love is apt to be more self-centred, more self-serving indeed.’ As shared earlier in this article, Colin does not believe in a loving God. The Bible teaches a different viewpoint about love. Love is patient, love is kind’ (1 Corinthians 13:4). It is not self-seeking (v 5). Jesus loves with patience and kindness. The Bible encourages us to: Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you’ (Ephesians 4:32).

I hope SCBC students are easily recognisable because of their strength in kindness. It reflects of our belief in a powerful God who loves with generous and gracious extravagance.

Wishing you and your family a safe, blessed time together during the end of term holiday.

Des Mitchell