“Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, who does not change the shifting shadows.” James 1:17 CSB
God is the originator of “Pay it Forward.” Lots of people throughout history have put it into practice, Benjamin Franklin, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Ray Bradbury. Some people believe the concept developed by the Greek playwright Menander in 300 B.C., but we all know the truth. God started it when He sent his Son to die on the cross for us, the first act of kindness that we are to pay forward in our daily lives. Jesus then showed us the way with His love and grace in everyday situations. Just as He turned water into wine (John 2-11 NIV) or healed the guards son (John 4:43-53 NIV) or showed the rich young ruler the error of his ways (Mark 10:17-27 NIV), we are called to follow in His footsteps. Jesus lived His life paying it forward, His ultimate sacrifice witnessed on the cross. How can we but do the same?
The golden rule is our answer: “So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets” (Matthew 7:12 NIV). What good would Jesus have us pay forward? He would want us to love others, whether Christ followers or not, we are called to love (Mark 12:31 NIV). We’ve talked about a lot of ways to love this month, and there are many more ways I haven’t mentioned. Loving others is a lifelong process, that can be exhausting at times, overwhelming, even impossible, but with God all things are possible (Romans 8:28 NIV). Another way we can pay it forward is by forgiving others who have wronged us (Colossians 3:13 NIV). God first forgave us, through His loving grace, we can forgive others. Forgiveness can be hard, especially in circumstances where the offender doesn’t feel like they have done anything wrong, but it is necessary for us to be able to move forward. As the old adage goes, when we don’t forgive someone who has hurt us, it’s like drinking rat poison and expecting the other person to suffer. The one who is truly suffering is us. Pay it forward by forgiving. Lastly, we pay it forward when we offer hope to someone who needs it. Our hope is Jesus, the easiest way to share hope with someone else is by sharing Jesus (1 Peter 3:15 NIV). There are multitudes of people who feel like they have no hope in this broken world we live in today. When we share the hope of Jesus, we’re bringing light into the darkness, we’re bringing wholeness to the broken, we’re paying forward what has already been done for us.
As we close out this month of scattering kindness in our world, it doesn’t mean we have to stop. Statistically, to form a new habit takes 21 days, we’ve had 30. Let’s pray the habit of kindness will stick with us as we move forward in our lives. Let’s make scattering kindness a way of life, not just a 30 day challenge.