[Jesus said,] “The stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone.”
Psychologist John Gottman “can predict with up to 94 percent certainty whether couples … will be broken up, together and unhappy, or together and happy several years later.” What’s the key? Kindness, he says.
“There’s a habit of mind that [the together and happy] have, which is this: they are scanning the social environment for things they can appreciate and say thank you for. They are building this culture of respect and appreciation very purposefully. [The broken up, the together and unhappy] are scanning the social environment for partners’ mistakes.”
In the parable of the tenants, a man leases his vineyard to tenants and then goes abroad. When the harvest arrives, he sends his servants one-by-one to collect fruit from the tenants. But the laborers do not welcome the servants — they beat some and kill others.
Jesus concludes, “Then the owner of the vineyard said, ‘What shall I do? I will send my son, whom I love; perhaps they will respect him.’
“But when the tenants saw him, they talked the matter over. ‘This is the heir,’ they said. ‘Let’s kill him, and the inheritance will be ours.’ So they threw him out of the vineyard and killed him.”
In the face of their contempt, the landowner is kind. This is kindness — that God bore with great patience the rejection of his people, sending prophet-by-prophet until finally he sent his Son.
“Could God, would God, overcome his cherishing, admiring, treasuring, white-hot, affectionate bond with his Son and deliver him over to be lied about and betrayed and abandoned and mocked and flogged and beaten and spit on and nailed to a cross and pierced with a sword like an animal being butchered?” John Piper asks. “If he would, then whatever goal he is pursuing could never be stopped.”
Lord, your habit of mind is to scan our hearts for Christ. Yet we confess that we often show contempt for your kindness and forbearance, not knowing that your kindness is meant to lead us to repentance. For on the cross we see that we are so sinful that Christ had to die and so loved that he chose to die. Forgive us for presuming on the riches of your kindness, and empower us to be kind to others. Amen.
Images of Faith
Part 5 of 5, read more on TheParkForum.org
This Weekend’s Readings