I'm a Hufflepuff
I am currently in the middle of a bet with my sister and a friend on who can read the whole Harry Potter series the quickest (I'm winning, by the way). Of course, three books in and I'm already a Harry Potter lunatic. I even took that darn Sorting Hat quiz which determined that I am a Hufflepuff - no matter how many times I take it.
Things could be worse though, my sister got Slytherin.
At least I'm loyal and kind.
Ironically, at the beginning of the year I set a new years resolution to be kind. Genuinely, down to my bones, kind. Not because I was obligated to, but because there was something inside of me that valued people around me to be kind in my core. To be warm, and gentle, caring about the person sitting in front of me. Or ringing me up at Harris Teeter. Or filling up my water cup at a restaurant. The way we treat others, the way we make them feel, says so much about us, and ultimately tells others so much about Christ. Maya Angelou says that while people may never remember what we say or do, they'll remember how we made them feel.
If I do nothing well in my life, I hope that I can do that well.
But then I got sorted into Hufflepuff and was honestly annoyed. I wanted to be in Gryffindor, obviously because of Harry, but also because the idea of being courageous and brave seems more important longterm than being loyal and kind.
I know that there is no internet quiz that can ultimately say anything about my true character, nor can a fictional house within a wizardry school. Yet, those things have made me realize that maybe my view of kindness is skewed.
John Mark McMillen has a song where the major descriptor he uses for God is kind.
"Of all the strong and able, you are the kindest." Feels kind of weird, right? To string those words together, strong, able, kind.
Isn't kindness meek?
Isn't kindness undyingly supportive?
Isn't kindness friendly, generous, warm, and gentle?
How can you be all those things, and be strong?
What I'm learning that while in my head it strength and kindness seem mutually exclusive, they're not. I think that what JM is saying that God possesses the perfect combination of strength and kindness. They aren't mutually exclusive qualities, because God is God. He could be vegan and still eat the chilli con queso - there are no labels within His vocabulary.
In Romans 2 Paul talks about how God's kindness is meant to lead us to repentance. Because He loves us, He convicts us. Because He is kind to us, He wont leave us as we are.
Calling someone out on their sin isn't what I would label as kind. It's uncomfortable, not warm. It feels disapproving, not undyingly supportive. When people call me out for my sin, it doesn't make me feel good. It makes me feel insecure because I'm not living up to my full potential.
Maybe that's a distorted understanding though, what if kindness is loving someone enough to have hard conversations. When you love someone the most, when you want what is best for them, you care about them being the best version of themselves. You want them to live up to their full potential.
God cares for us that way. He wants us to be the best versions of ourselves. He wants what is best for us, so He's going to lead us to repentance... because HE IS SO KIND. I think the type of kindness that leaves people feeling loved starts there, with God showing you so much of your own sin that for a split second you comprehend how much grace has been afforded to you.
I don't think the path to repentance is supposed to be a self-loathing one, it's supposed to give you a glimpse into the depth of your depravity. The more aware I am of how screwed up I am, the more convicted I am to extend grace to everyone around me.
You can't help but love others for who they are and where they are when you realize that you're even more screwed up than them. On the flip side, you can't help but see the potential in others when you realize how far you've come.
At the end, my conclusion is this that God's kindness is His strength, and His strength is His kindness. We're well into November and my new years resolution is finally starting to make a little sense.
Also, HufflePuff forever.
What house are you in?