Kindness is a universal language. It is generally defined as the quality of being friendly, generous and considerate. For the world it might stem from just being human and decent. But for us Christ followers, it stems from the creator Himself.
God’s kindness stems from His perfect nature. In His kindness He gave us life and all that is in it. And He provides us with so much more, a way for us unworthy souls to be restored to Him, for His presence with us now and for an eternity with Him later.
The kindness of God in the person of Jesus
Titus 3:4-7 says “But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Saviour appeared, he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Saviour.”
The goodness and loving kindness of our God appeared – His kindness was manifested in Jesus. Ephesians 2:7 says “The incomparable riches of His grace is expressed in His kindness to us in Christ Jesus.”
If Jesus is the manifestation of God’s kindness, it shows us that God sacrificed His son as He extended His kindness towards us and that sacrificial love is a way, He shows us His kindness.
How often do we sacrifice self or even comfort for the benefit of someone else? We might do it for someone we love, but would we so readily extend it to those who might not value it.
The Lord delights in showing kindness
Jeremiah 9:24 says “I am the Lord who exercises kindness, justice and righteousness on earth, for in these I delight, declares the Lord.” The Lord not only extends His kindness towards us all but He also delights in it. It is difficult to talk about the kindness of the Lord without it being wrapped in His love, forgiveness and mercy.
Being kind is beautifully encompassed along with the greatest commandment of Loving God when Jesus said “Love your neighbour as yourself.” And when asked who is our neighbour, the Parable of the good Samaritan was introduced to us. A Jewish man was robbed and beaten, left to die. The Jewish priest and Levite passed by, but the Samaritan saved him. The point of Jesus’ story was this: everyone is our neighbour, not just the one who looks like you, does life like you or speaks like you. We are to show merciful kindness to everyone, even our enemies.
So, what does Biblical kindness look like – it looks like Christ. Jesus exemplified kindness not just when it was convenient, not for His benefit or when He felt like it. It was just who He was. He portrayed the Fathers nature for all to see.
Being kind is more than just being nice, it is an expression of our love for God. It’s how we tell Him that we are choosing to honour Him in our thoughts, actions and intentions because of the immense love and kindness we receive from Him. And what better way to reflect Christ to others than to live out that kindness.
Living out Kindness
In Col 3:12 we read, “Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience.”
Scripture teaches us in Philippians 2:3-4 the mindset we are to have that enables us live a life of kindness. “Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.”
Isaiah 63:7 says “I will tell of the kindness of the Lord.” In many ways the best way to start telling is by living it out. Love and faith without deeds do not accomplish much. Extending kindness gives us an opportunity to show another that they are of great value to God and are loved by God. Every single person deserves kindness because they are created in the image of God. Yes, sin can mar how they are perceived, but it never changes that they are still loved and worthy of God’s love and therefore deserve our genuine kindness and care.
“Love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the most High, for He is kind to the ungrateful and evil.” (Luke 6:35)
When kindness isn’t easy
Kindness can come in many forms; it is easy to extend kindness to those we like or those who are grateful but sometimes it just isn’t easy.
Ephesians 4:32 says, “Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.” In this verse, forgiveness and kindness are tied together. Jesus words on the cross “Forgive them Father, for they know not what they do”, is a great example of His love, mercy and also His kindness.
In Psalm 141:5 we read, “Let a righteous man strike me – it is a kindness; let him rebuke me – it is oil for my head; let my head not refuse it.” This verse reminds us that it is a kindness when someone in love does not turn a blind eye if we misstep in our faith journey.
So, when you are struggling to allow kindness to flow from you, take a moment and ask yourself, is it pride, unforgiveness or judgement that is creating a stumbling block.
God’s kindness also serves a greater purpose, as it says in Romans 2:4 “God’s kindness leads you to repentance.” His kindness points us to our need for Christ in our lives and as we live out the kindness so freely bestowed on us from our Heavenly Father, may we remember that He should be glorified and made known through it all.
Psalm 36:7a says, “How precious is Your lovingkindness, O God!” Let us not take His kindness for granted. May the Lord soften our hearts and fill us with His love so that His kindness pours out from our hearts and into our actions.