Kindness – It’s Not What You May Think
Kindness is not something we often speak or hear of. We’ll use references like, ‘that person was sweet.’ ‘He was so thoughtful’. ‘You can tell she cares’. I rarely hear, ‘that was so kind’. Is there a reason why? Perhaps it’s because it’s a lot harder to do than giving a nice smile and helping someone cross a street.
As I spent some time researching Biblical kindness for this post, I noticed that the word was usually written in coordination with faithfulness and favour in the Old Testament. These books of the Bible spoke more of the examples of kindness, whereas the New Testament used the word in a definitive format. It highlighted kindness in a few different references as an important attribute of the Lord to have.
Is kindness as mundane as it sounds? Is it only demonstrated in ‘Random Acts of Kindness’? Not at all. In fact, it takes the Holy Spirit and a whole lot of grace to show someone true kindness. It’s an act of going out of your way and helping someone you normally wouldn’t. It’s intentionally thinking of and doing something for someone when you don’t really have time. It is attached with humility, being willing to lower yourself and show kindness to all people, including your enemies.
“A poor person is hated even by his neighbor,
but there are many who love the rich.
The one who despises his neighbor sins,
but whoever shows kindness to the poor will be happy.
…The one who oppresses the poor person insults his Maker,
but one who is kind to the needy honors him.”
Proverbs 14:20-21, 30
We must remember where our kindness comes from:
“He also raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavens in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might display the immeasurable riches of his grace through his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. For you are saved by grace through faith, and this is not from yourselves; it is God’s gift—” – Ephesians 2:6-8
The Lord extended His kindness to us in that He saved us from the destruction of this world. He redeemed us from our sin and shame and adopted us into His perfect family, even though He didn’t have to. He weighed the high cost and found it worth His gruelling death in order to save us from ours. He was extremely kind in that He gave us life and freedom. We were spiritually poor and now unfathomably rich in Christ by His kindness towards us.
“Let all bitterness, anger and wrath, shouting and slander be removed from you, along with all malice.And be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving one another, just as God also forgave you in Christ.” – Ephesians 4:31-32
The Lord extended kindness towards us. We are supposed to mirror Jesus to the world in return. Therefore, we need to set our old ways aside and look to the Lord in order to show His kindness to others.
I realize it’s often not easy to do, but it’s in those times that it counts the most. I’ll admit that kindness hasn’t been my top priority recently. I’ve grown weary of all the controversies between people and the government. The more I interact in the community lately, the more I’m finding weary, angry, and annoyed people. And, it’s hard to not fall into it myself. But I felt the Lord’s gentle rebuke towards me as I studied this topic. I realized that I was letting my anger override my kindness. It was getting in the way and I wasn’t reflecting Jesus to others. I need to show this hurting world the loving kindness that I’ve received rather than more of what everyone else is passing around.
There is a time and place to be upset with things and people. I’ve been convicted to go to the people I feel at fault with and try to deal with them directly rather than talking about it with whomever is around. I’m reminded that the Lord is in control even if it doesn’t look like it. He can use anyone, anywhere, and at anytime to fulfill His plans and purposes. I don’t need to cast my frustrations on others. I need to give them to the Lord instead. He’s big enough to handle it.
We all have enough on our plates with family, work, health, and other responsibilities than to be adding even more. Lay it down and give it to Jesus then go about doing what He’s called you to. Trust Him to take care of the rest, and in that freedom, choose to show others His kindness.