Do you believe that there a lack of kindness in our world today? If you looked or listened to the news channels, or hear what’s happening with bullies in our schools, or notice how people talk about other people, then you might think that the lack of kindness is an epidemic in our culture.
If the saying that “Kindness changes everything” is even partially true, then we should at least look at how we, might become kind. All of us need to ask ourselves: “Is there a lack of kindness in my relationships?” “Is there a lack of kindness in my own heart?” “Am I kind to my spouse?” “Am I kind with those who don’t agree with me?”
God’s Word does have a lot to say about the importance of being kind to one another:
“Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you” (Ephesians 4:32).
“Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience” (Colossians 3:12).
“We prove ourselves by our purity, our understanding, our patience, our kindness, by the Holy Spirit within us, and by our sincere love” (2 Corinthians 6:6).
“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs” (1 Corinthians 13:4-5).
Jesus tells us to “do to others what you would want them to do to you” (Matthew 7:12). Who wouldn’t want someone to be kind to them? Then shouldn’t we begin to allow kindness define us and our relationships?
It is important to understand exactly what kindness is. Kindness starts with caring —being tenderhearted and compassionate toward others. It takes a genuine heartfelt desire to be truly kind. The word kind means “considerate, courteous, empathetic, friendly, generous, cooperative, pleasant, gracious, helpful, loving, sensitive, and supportive.” Now there’s not one of us who doesn’t want to be treated like this. If that’s what we want from others, then that’s what we must do for others first!
We see in Galatians 5:19-21, the apostle Paul refers to human nature as “the flesh” and our natural tendencies as the “works of the flesh.” These include hatred, jealousies, selfish ambitions and envy. All these traits are selfish and self-centered. If those traits direct our relationships, then we will be people who are unkind. Our flesh or our human sin nature must be replaced by God’s Spirit, and that can only happen by receiving the gift of God’s Spirit dwelling in us and the wonderful fruit it produces: “love, joy, peace, long-suffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control” (Galatians 5:22-23).
Each of these characteristics clearly relate to the others. Long-suffering is linked with kindness (see 2 Corinthians 6:6 and Colossians 3:12 above). And both of these are clearly components of love: “Love suffers long and is kind” (1 Corinthians 13:4,5).
God’s Word has a lot to say about how Christians should treat one another. Do we seek to bring Him glory through our words and actions, or do we dishonor Him in the name of “being right”, “proving our point”, or getting someone to “see our side”?
The words we speak are powerful. So much so that we are commanded to tame our tongue (James 3). Jesus said we would be held accountable for every idle word we speak (Matthew 12:36). Our words will show if we are kind to one another. This kindness is the expression of the divine reality being lived out in us as a human virtue. We need kindness toward one another. Sometimes we are too rough to others; we are quick to react, and we can be flat our “not nice” when we talk to others.
I unfortunately personally experienced that from a fellow brother in Christ recently who was trying to prove their point of view. Their unkind words took to me to a dark place emotionally until thankfully God reminded me who I was as His child and that my identity was found in Christ. He once again had to remind me that “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me” (Galatians 2:20).
It is vitally important that God’s children need to be tender-hearted, full of compassion, having our heart full of tenderness toward one another. This means that we need to have the inward parts of Jesus Christ completed work on the cross. We easily offend others and we are offended very quickly; therefore, we need to forgive others and ask for forgiveness (look at last blog).
If we are to be children of our King, then we must be kind even to our enemies, because God is kind even to the unthankful and the evil. If we treat others, including those who don’t like us, with kindness will they treat us in the same way? Obviously, that is not necessarily going to happen. But if we treat them the same way they treat us, we are not allowing Christ to live in us or love through us.
We must be kind, in doing so, we will not be overcome by evil but we will overcome evil with good. And so, we must be kind to one another. Think about how much just showing kindness toward each other would solve a lot of the problems that arise in our relationships. Showing kindness needs to become a supernaturally generous focus of our hearts toward other people, even when they don’t deserve it and don’t love us in return.
Pray for God to make you kind. Ask him to give you a heart that loves others and creativity to know how to show it. Ask him to help you die to self-centeredness and grow in a desire to build others up. Because God delights in helping his people obey his commands, we can trust that his Spirit will teach us how to bless others for his glory and their spiritual good.
Kindness is no small thing. It will bring some tremendous fruit both in our lives and the lives of those around us. “Whoever pursues righteousness and kindness will find life, righteousness, and honor” (Proverbs 21:21). It is important to know that we are righteous because Christ lives in us. If we are going to be kind, even when others don’t deserve it, it will only happen because we allow Christ to live in and through us. Those who are in Christ have a new identity; they are no longer defined by their sin, they’re defined by Christ.
But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy (Titus 3:4-5).