Kindness seems a forgotten virtue in a world where strangers accept as normal the practice of skewering one another in social media. How important is kindness? Micah, an Old Testament prophet, desired to know what the Lord expected of him, and the Lord’s reply was “to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God” (Micah 6:8, ESV). Love Kindness–the two words Barry Corey chose for the title of his book.
In Love Kindness Corey weaves personal experiences with Bible insight as he walks the reader through an investigation of practical kindness. Corey’s impressions of kindness began in his youth through the worthy example of his late father who shared (page 4), “I’ve got to live my life so strangers, friends, aching, lonely, family–they receive me. And through me they see God’s inexhaustible love.”
Corey’s central theme is that followers of Christ must live to be receivable to others. We must maintain the firm center of our beliefs, but we need soft edges that might open opportunities to relate to others. No one will accept our message if we deliver our words through bullhorns accompanied by shaking fists.
The book is organized into thirteen chapters with each focused on a particular aspect of kindness. My favorite is Chapter 2, A new Job, A Road Trip, and a Father and Son: The Way of Kindness is Messy. Yes, the title is a mouthful, but Barry Corey shares his heart on the relocation of his family to California to begin a new life. The author’s comparisons to Abraham’s story with the uncertainties the Patriarch faced were especially meaningful to me.
Barry Corey treads into the roiling waters of current events as he answers questions like (page 61), “How do we live a life with a firm center and soft edges in conversations on human sexuality? What does kindness look like on one of the hot-button issues of our generation? Where do grace and truth cohabit?” Some might take exception to his coverage, but I applaud his courage in beginning the conversation. Corey reminds us (page 66), “Reach-across-the-aisle kindness is not meant to affirm each other’s choices, but it does mean we listen to each other’s voices.”
As I consumed the pages of Love Kindness I often paused to nod my head with the message. At other times I bowed in conviction and resolved to make changes in my practices. Is not the mark of a great author the ability to reach across time and connect with his readers? Thank you, Barry Corey, for a job well-done!
Note – Tyndale House Publishers provided a complimentary copy of Love Kindness to facilitate my review.