Sometimes it is hard to define kindness, but it can be very easy to define the opposite of kindness which would be mean. We have all experienced people who we would consider “mean.” Their actions appeared to be deliberately hurtful and they showed no remorse for their actions. I guess in a sense that when a person is being mean, they are being selfish because they are only thinking of how they can benefit themselves without thinking of the hurt they are spreading. Sometimes even a kind person can do mean things. Sometimes we react in a way that can hurt the people around us. So, if it is easier to pinpoint mean, I thought that studying kindness may help me become more intentionally kind. According to Dictionary.com kind is defined as “1.of a good or benevolent nature or disposition; 2. having, showing, or proceeding from benevolence; 3. indulgent, considerate, or helpful.” I like how dictionary.com used the phrase “proceeding from benevolence.” It almost implies that benevolence can bring about kindness. Once again, just like the other fruits, kindness is an intentional action that is required from us in our walk with God. Please look up Colossians 3:12-13.
I like how dictionary.com used the phrase “proceeding from benevolence.” It almost implies that benevolence can bring about kindness. Isn’t that what God does for us? He is extravagant and indulgent and benevolent toward us! I find it interesting that verse 13 talks about forgiveness; it seems to be an extension of kindness because we are giving of ourselves. Last week in my small group, we discussed how forgiveness is as though we are sacrificing a part of ourselves. We are taking our pride and rights and putting them on the cross and letting them go. We are extending forgiveness even if we don’t feel it is deserved because that is what Christ did for us. That is kindness. Ephesians 4:32 says, “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” Once again, we see how forgiveness is paired up with kindness.
Whenever I think of kindness, I think of the “golden rule” found in Matthew 7:12, “So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.” Basically, kindness is treating others the way you would want to be treated. Kindness is seeing a need and meeting it; it is behaving toward someone in a way that shows you respect the person. Remembering that God loves that person helps motivate me toward kindness when the person is being unkind. When we can remember the kindness God extravagantly pours on us, we are empowered to show kindness to others.
Do you meditate on the kindness God has given you to empower you to be kind to those around you?