1 Corinthians 13:4-8a reads,
Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant5 or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; 6 it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. 7 Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
8 Love never ends.
And Galatians 5:22-23 reads,
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.
Yesterday we looked at patience, today we will look at kindness. the Greek word for kind is crhsteuoami and kindness is crhstothj. It means to act benevolently to be mild, morally excellent and gentle.
The same word is used in Ephesians 4:31-32,
Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. 32 Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.
So kindness is a gentle benevolence a compassion for others. Jesus described himself in a similar way. In Matthew 11:27-29
All things have been handed over to me by my Father, and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him. 28 Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.
Although Jesus was God, although He had all the authority of God, He chose to be meek, gentle, and humble. According to the definitions we read, the gentleness of Jesus is kindness. He could have come like a snarling lion, He could have come like a roaring fire with the wrath we deserve but He came with gentleness, compassion, and good will. We have no right to be anything other than forgiving and kind.
Kindness may not seem to speak loudly but it has an impact that cruelty can not have. I have been on the receiving end of both cruelty and kindness as I am sure you have. Consider the impact each of those experiences have had on you. I have seen what even a small kindness can to for a person having a difficult time. A small kindness is no small thing. It is powerful. Proverbs 15:1-4 read,
A soft answer turns away wrath,
but a harsh word stirs up anger.
2 The tongue of the wise commends knowledge,
but the mouths of fools pour out folly.
3 The eyes of the Lord are in every place,
keeping watch on the evil and the good.
4 A gentle tongue is a tree of life,
but perverseness in it breaks the spirit.
We may want to answer with anger to be mean when someone is mean or angry with us but all that does is evoke more anger. A soft answer, perhaps a merciful or kind, gentle answer turns wrath away. Not only the wrath of the person we answer but it turns away the wrath of God, it might even turn that person toward God. Similarly, dealing kindly with a person and speaking gently builds them up and brings them life instead of cruelty breaking them down. We do not have to be cruel, we do not have to point out wrongs, sins, and offenses because God has His eyes on us, the good and the evil and He will take care of it. He is Just. Vengeance is His and His Justice is for us. Once again we see how closely knit the characteristics of love are. Kindness requires gentleness, goodness, mercy, and faith and hope in Who God is.
Isn’t kindness living out the second law of the Greatest Commandments? Isn’t kindness loving your neighbor as yourself and doing to others what you wish they would do to you? (Luke 10:27, Matthew 7:12). We do not have to fear acts of benevolence, we are free to be kind to people because we trust that God will take care of us. Proverbs 11:24-25 promises provision for generous kindness.
One gives freely, yet grows all the richer;
another withholds what he should give, and only suffers want.
25 Whoever brings blessing will be enriched,
and one who waters will himself be watered.
Kindness is one of the marks of the new self, who we are in Christ. It is how love is expressed to people, the times of compassion, the small gifts, the big gifts, the sacrifices and services, the words of encouragement are all acts of kindness. Colossians 3:12-17 is a description of what the Christian should be.
Put on then, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, 13 bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. 14 And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. 15 And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. 16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. 17 And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
Look how much of this encouragement is about kindness. Compassion kindness, meekness, bearing with one another, and forgiveness are all associated with the kindness in 1 Corinthians and Galatians.
Believer, I personally do not think it is possible to love someone without being kind. I would even say that it is absolutely not possible to express love without kindness and if love is not expressed, it does not exist. So, ask the Holy Spirit to examine your heart and reveal if you are kind. Ask in what ways you can increase your kindness and then obey Him. There is a world of hurting and lost people out there looking for a little kindness. What might your kindness mean to them?