Or do you presume on the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that God's kindness is meant to lead you to repentance? Romans 2:4 ESV
For His merciful kindness is great toward us, And the truth of the Lord endures forever. Praise the Lord! Psalm 117:2 NKJV
One of the ways God’s love is revealed to mankind is through His goodness and kindness. Kindness is an action of God’s love. He is rich in kindness and His kindness is great toward us. He is even kind to those who are unthankful and wicked (Luke 6:35 NLT), which inevitably leads them to repentance of their sins and acknowledgment of His great love in Christ.
Kindness will do that. Kindness is another fruit of the Holy Spirit and when it is displayed through someone’s life, their attitude and actions will reflect the love of God and people will be changed. Perspectives, attitudes, bias, and even behavior can change because of virtuous kindness.
I was once at a large gathering for dinner where the group didn’t all know each other and sat at tables of four or six to share the meal with people they had never met. A man at our table was a world-renown composer and pianist. I knew who he was instantly, but he wouldn’t have known me from Adam. I was shy and fumbling in the presence of a true star and tried to appear nonchalant. Others at the table didn’t know him at all and were just talking like he was a regular guy like the rest of us. I knew better… To my surprise, this man walked around the table and met each person, asked about family and home, and showed genuine interest. Then he began to serve, hopping up to get extra napkins, refilling drinks. His kindness was disarming. I thought, “Doesn’t he know who he is?” We should be serving him… Of course, I was starstruck and wasn’t seeing God’s perspective at all. This man was just like the rest of us. What separated him wasn’t his talent or his popularity, it was his virtuous life. His kindness. He made the meal one of the most pleasurable I had ever experienced, to see God’s loving kindness on display through one of His children, in this case, musical genius, and servant of God, Kurt Kaiser.
It is my understanding that Mr. Kaiser exuded this kindness and servanthood to everyone, not just strangers at a party. And that's really the difference in virtuous kindness and just being a thoughtful person. True kindness is especially tender and giving to those most familiar.
Sometimes we take those closest to us for granted. I know I do. And we don't really mean to, we just expect them to know, or expect them to be different, or better, and we become short, curt, even harsh and cruel. That kind of behavior with the ones we truly love should make us question our kindness around others, is it an act? Do we tolerate others or truly love them, and demonstrate that love with kindness, forgiveness, gentleness?
Kindness isn’t weakness, it is not condoning bad behavior or accepting sin. On the contrary, kindness forgives sin and brings correction, only it does so without cruelty. It does so by walking the extra mile, being generous with our time and resources, doing good things that are unexpected.
When is the last time you took over a chore for a younger sibling just because you love them? How about opening the car door for your wife, or doing a chore she hates, like laundry or dishes, or widows.
The apostle Pauls summed up virtuous kindness best when he wrote:
"If you are a thief, quit stealing. Instead, use your hands for good hard work, and then give generously to others in need. Don’t use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them. And do not bring sorrow to God’s Holy Spirit by the way you live. Remember, he has identified you as his own, guaranteeing that you will be saved on the day of redemption. Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior. Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you." Ephesians 4:28-32 NLT
Photo credit: Waco Tribune-Herald, Staff photo— Rod Aydelotte. No copyright infringement intended.