“Be Kind, for everyone you know is facing a great battle”. What a way to look upon people,! To see beneath the externals to a realm of warfare in which everyone is engaged. This word is a little gem and brings a perspective leading to an understanding rooted in tenderness.
One day in Toronto in wintertime Hazel and I were walking, well rugged up against the cold. We passed a man huddled on the sidewalk over one of the large gratings through which the warm air from the subterranean walkways underneath the city was rising. He was really ‘down and out’ and Hazel said, ‘how did this man get to this state’? Spontaneously I replied, ‘gradually’. Philo’s statement makes me ask what great battle this man had been facing and apparently had lost? What in particular had worn him down and overcome him and brought him to this condition?
What about your pastor? What great battle is he facing just now? What of your friends at work, in the church and those in your family? Do the battles have an intensely individual and personal element? Is it the same for everyone or are there ways in which the battleground of the soul varies from person to person? Perhaps many of them scarcely realize the warfare and there are others who could never talk about it having learned to live so long with the enemy. For one it is a battle with loneliness, for another with sin in particular form, for others memories of a tragic past full of mistakes and with heavy payment being exacted. To think of each engaged in a warfare with personal weaknesses of various kinds, tendencies towards depression maybe, how numerous and multifarious this warfare must be.
It is impossible to be truly kind and that the same time be censorious. It appears to me that to reflect on this warfare, and its unrelenting nature, to consider that which we all undoubtedly face will help dissolve a critical spirit and help establish a more kindly disposition in our hearts. The enemy of souls is against all souls, of this there can be no doubt.
“Be Kind” Philo said. The kind heart is loosed to pray effectively for others. The heart that knows its own weakness, and has fought and lost and fought and won also, shall surely be kind. A heart that has come to discover the impossibility of consistent victory without Christ Jesus, the victorious one fighting for us is humbled and tender towards others.
Start with those that you know, do not try to discover their particular realm of battle, rather, think upon them as involved with enemies particular to themselves which are subtle, strong and who attack them frequently at some times more than others. Encourage your fellow warriors that they might see Jesus as their victorious Saviour and that through Him they are able to do valiantly in the battles that they face. Encourage them not to give in, but to persevere and sometimes, simply to ‘stand still and see the salvation of the Lord’. Pray for one another as one engaged in the same warfare as they are,. Remember the word of Luther which speaks of the weakest saint shall fell the enemy.
“Be Kind, for everyone you meet is facing a great battle”. Here is a word to remember as we think of one another. Thankyou Philo of Alexandria for your illuminating comment, written so long ago, which opens to me a vista I had not seen clearly at all before.