SUNDAY, OCTOBER 14, 2012.
LESSONS ON SHOWING KINDNESS TO OTHERS
‘The people of the island (Malta) were very kind to us. It was cold and rainy, so they built a fire on the shore to welcome us’ -Acts 28v2.
RESIDENTS of the island, at the time, were of Phoenician ancestry. They played host to Paul and his companions after they swam to safety, following a shipwreck. Their kindness is legendary. According to the Bible: ‘They built a fire on the shore to welcome Paul and his companions’. No doubt, the weather had been unfriendly. It was such as could fetch ill health. What the survivors needed was fire to get warm, and the residents provided just that.
Nationality, religion, language and ethnic differences should not be barriers to showing kindness. Because of the way Paul and his co-travellers were received, the apostle was able to heal the father of Publius, an official of the island of Malta. The father had fever and dysentery. Paul, with a gift of healing, laid hands on him and he quickly recovered.
News of this healing spread, like wild fire, throughout the island. In quick response, the islanders brought all their sick and laid them before Paul. He prayed, laid hands on all, and they became whole. The Bible says of Paul: ‘God gave him the power to perform unusual miracles. When handkerchiefs or aprons that had merely touched his skin were placed on sick people, they were healed of their diseases and evil spirits were expelled’ -Acts 19v11-12.
It is interesting to note that Publius, for three days, entertained Paul and his 276 companions. It was Publius’ demonstration of kindness for what Paul had done for him and the community.
In Nigeria, there is no better time, as people of God, to show kindness to one another. Recent reports of flood-ravaged communities call for kindness because some people have suddenly become refugees in their own land. They need resettlement, clothing, drugs and shelter, if they must overcome the trauma brought about by the situation.
We also have persons in orphanages across the country. Pitiably, these only depend on guardians and volunteers for a future. How long should they continue without hope?
On October 1, 2012, an orphanage from Ughelli paid a visit to the Ibru Centre. It was a moving sight. One could only wish that good-spirited Nigerians would offset the hospital bills of these children, provide scholarships, food and clothing, and if possible adopt some of them in order to preserve their God-given future. Without doubt, some of them would grow to be great. Therefore, they need kindness to pull through.
What about prisoners across the country? Many are awaiting trial without hope for fairness. But respite could come, some day, and some of these brothers and sisters, wrongly held, would go free. Remember: God is looking for someone to stand in the gap.
What of the sick and the needy? These also require our kindness. Sometimes, people are cured in hospitals but are unable to settle bills. Reports indicate that some of these people are often detained and made to do menial jobs at such hospitals in order to offset their debts. Isn’t this modern slavery? What a shame! God could use you to liberate these people. They, certainly, need help.
Our kindness should know no boundary. God can use you to wipe away the tears of humanity, particularly those who suffer silently. It is imperative we LOOK! LISTEN! CARE!Ven. Ernest Onuoha Rector, Ibru International Ecumenical Centre, Agbarha-Otor, Delta State.