The Kindness of Caring
“So, chosen by God for this new life of love, dress in the wardrobe God picked out for you: compassion, kindness, humility, quiet strength, discipline.” (Colossians 3:12 The Message)
There are really three parts to the Spirit’s fruit of kindness:
· The first is a desire for the well-being of others. If we don’t care, we don’t act.
· Second is a sensitivity to the needs of other people. If we don’t see, we don’t respond.
· The third aspect of kindness is the thoughtful action that we take to meet the needs we see.
Too often, we look at people without seeing the pain, loneliness, sorrow, or unfulfilled desires of their hearts. A person filled with the kindness of the Spirit will have his/her eyes open to those needs and then, to the extent possible, do something about them.
One thing that motivates us, as Christians, to be kind to others is that God has been kind to us. We are told that one of the reasons Jesus came was to show us the kindness of God. (Ephesians 2:7 and Titus 3:4-5). How was Jesus kind? He healed, He fed, He listened, He taught, and He cared for those around him. Even the forceful confrontations with the religious leaders of the day were a kindness because, in revealing the truth about these leaders, Jesus was defending the weak who were being misused by them.
As God followers, we have every reason to be the kindest people on earth – always trying to find ways to do something good for those who need it. The Bible specifically tells us to be kind to the poor, strangers, widows, fatherless, neighbors, the burdened, the weak, enemies, and animals. If we think about it, we realize that at some time or another in our lives we fit into one or more of these categories (hopefully not animals!). We ourselves have felt alone or abandoned, we had a financial need, or we were weak or overburdened with circumstances of our lives. Because of this, we can empathize with those who suffer and, in doing so, can find a meaningful way to show kindness.
One way to be kind is by giving something material or monetary. God uses our attachment to possessions and money to test our faithfulness as His servants. We need to hold lightly to the things we own so we can freely give them to those in need. Earlier in my life, I found myself facing severe financial struggles for a few years. One Sunday as I was leaving church, our pastor’s wife, aware of our needs, handed me an envelope. In it was a loving note and a check for $100. That money bought badly needed eyeglasses for my daughter but, more than that, brought unbelievable encouragement to my soul.
Another way to be kind is in our words. I taught high school with a woman who was a great example to me in this area. Every time a new classroom full of students came in, she surveyed the faces of all twenty-five or thirty of them until her eyes fell on one who seemed to need a gentle word. Then, as the class filed out at the end of the teaching hour, she made it a point to come face to face with that student and say something kind. She felt she had not fulfilled her teaching responsibilities for that hour until she had delivered a message of kindness to one who needed it most. By the end of every day, she had touched at least five lives with specifically directed words of encouragement and hope. I have often wondered how those kindnesses may have affected some of those students forever.
Kindness can be lived out in other ways as well. Do you realize that being polite is really just a way of showing kindness? Forgiveness is another way (Ephesians 4:32). What kinder thing can we do for someone than to be willing to restore our relationship with them?
So, let’s get on with it and show kindness to someone today.
“Nothing can make our lives, or the lives of other people, more beautiful than perpetual kindness.” – Leo Tolstoy