The Oxford English Dictionary defines kindness as being ‘gentle or benevolent’ in nature, or being ‘friendly in one’s conduct.’ As a value I think it’s often underrated coming in behind love, compassion and generosity, but for me it explains the runaway success of the British TV programme the Great British Bake Off. Everything about the programme oozes kindness, and not least the manner in which Paul Hollywood and Mary Berry have gone about the judging, which stands in marked contrast to the judging on many other shows. While they could never ignore a ‘soggy bottom’ because they are looking for perfection, the words they speak are not harsh or belittling, but instead seek to inspire the contestant to improvement.
Over many years I’ve picked up that when people think of God, in terms of being a judge, they assume that He will be harsh and is looking to condemn. By contrast the Apostle Paul who described himself as the ‘worst of sinners’a, insisted that it was God’s ‘kindness that leads you towards repentance’b.
So as the show moves to another channel and we bid farewell to the Bake Off as we have known it, let’s hope and pray that we have not also bid farewell to judging that is kind.
a 1 Timothy 1:16
b Romans 2:4