As you might imagine, most of the emphasis on kindness in Ashes falls to Ember, as the Cinderella character of this Cinderella retelling. But she’s not the only one with notable acts of kindness. Ember is joined on her adventure by Lord Ksa, the next leader of a powerful ruling city and someone who has lived his entire life surrounded by certain ideals of superiority and elitism. However, Ksa himself is not weighed down by those ideals, and his humility and kindness become some of the most notable parts of his character.
Considering Ksa’s character brings us back to the idea of kindness being contingent on other factors. In a culture that prioritizes the needs and desires of the self, the idea of selfless kindness is hard to come by. Often, kindness is placed within boundaries to help us avoid doing anything that might make us too uncomfortable or jeopardize our own agendas. But if kindness is dependent on how others act, or what they can do for us, or how convenient it is, then it is not truly kindness after all.
James writes, “My brothers, show no partiality as you hold the faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory… If you really fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself,’ you are doing well. But if you show partiality, you are committing sin and are convicted by the law as transgressors” (James 2:1, 8-9, ESV). Here in his letter, James addresses the issue of love and kindness only being shown to those who hold some appeal, whether in their outward appearance or their financial state. It is clear that the idea of kindness is undermined when it is only shown in the circumstances in which it is convenient or beneficial. By nature, true kindness must be selfless and impartial.
Naturally, there is no better example of this kindness than the life of Christ. There are so many instances when it would have been easier to hold back or show partiality in kindness, yet Jesus always chose the more difficult route, making His love for us all the more clear. One particular instance of Jesus’ impartial kindness takes place in John 4, when He speaks with the Samaritan woman at the well. There were many reasons why Jesus would have been justified by the culture at the time if He had chosen to avoid any interaction with the woman. Just the fact that she was a woman was reason enough, but she was also a Samaritan, which meant that most Jews would have no inclination to be anywhere near her. In addition, she had a complicated history with multiple men- something that would typically cast her to the outskirts of society. And yet Jesus pauses for this conversation, offering Himself to her as Living Water in a moment that would change her life for eternity. We see no concern for His own comfort or a potential smear to His reputation. We see only love and kindness, that He would reach out to someone who the selfish nature of man would say wasn’t worth His time. It’s a beautiful thing to know that there is no situation too much for Him, nothing that can mar the kindness of the literal incarnation of Love Himself.
One of the things that Ember appreciates about Ksa, even from their earliest interactions, is his kindness towards her. After being treated as nothing and serving her stepmother and stepsisters her entire life, it’s almost revolutionary that someone of his status would treat her so well. From Ksa’s perspective, he does not give a second thought to it. In his mind, she is a person who deserves kindness and protection because the provision of those things should not be dependent on a person’s status or background.
This attitude should be universal. When Christ came to Earth, He did not spend His time only with the most pious or elite members of society. Instead, He ate with tax collectors, and spoke to Samaritan women, and spent His time among “sinners.” He knew, better than anyone else, that, “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23, ESV) and that He came “to seek and to save the lost” (Luke 19:10, ESV). In a purpose like that, partiality has no place. And in our lives, when we consider how to show kindness to others, partiality can also have no hold.
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This particular page is dedicated to connecting my stories with their inspiration in God's Word. One of the goals of my writing is that it would illustrate God's goodness, love, and truth. These posts are designed to make those illustrations just a little more clear.