How Kind Are We?

How many acts of kindness should we perform each day? The answer for
Christians should be obvious–as many as we possibly can and have
opportunity to. But sadly, in this selfish and unkind world, we often
fall short, being influenced negatively by our society.

There can
be no doubt that especially our Western societies have increasingly
become more and more “unkind.” When I grew up, it was expected of
younger people, for example, to show kindness to the older generation.
When a young person sat in a public bus and an older person approached,
it was expected of the younger one to stand up and offer his seat to
the older person. Today, such conduct would be the rare exception,
because we have become more and more self-centered. Younger people are
not taught anymore to show love and kindness to others, including
showing respect and rising up before the hoary head (Leviticus 19:32).
Indeed, the perilous times just preceding Christ’s Return are described
in this way: “For men will be lovers of THEMSELVES… unthankful…
unloving… despisers of good…” (2 Timothy 3:1-4).

Of course,
it is very much within our human nature to forget to show kindness to
others. Even though young Joseph, as a captive in an Egyptian prison,
prophesied to the imprisoned chief butler that he would be freed,
pleading with him, in return, to “show him kindness” and get him also
out of prison, the butler just forgot him (Genesis 40:14, 23). The
children of Israel did not remember God and refused to show kindness to
the house of Gideon, after his death (Judges 8:34-35). King Joash acted
in the same way, after he had originally done what was right in the
eyes of God (2 Chronicles 24:2). However, later in his life he failed
miserably: “Thus Joash the king did not remember the kindness which
Jehoiada his father [foster father] had done to him, but killed his
son” (2 Chronicles 24:22).

But people CAN be kind, if they want
to be. The unconverted “barbarians” showed Paul and his companions
“unusual kindness” when they were shipwrecked and escaped to the isle
of Malta, by kindling a fire and made them all welcome, “because of the
rain … and the cold” (Acts 28:1-2). How much more ought
Christians and their children show kindness to others! This includes
looking for opportunities to show and carry out acts of kindness. We
read that the “law of kindness” is in the mouth of the virtuous woman
(Proverbs 31:26). King David was willing to show “the kindness of God”
to one of Saul’s sons (2 Samuel 9:3), by restoring to him all the land
of Saul, and by letting him eat at his table (verse 7). In fact, we
read that God and men desire to see kindness in a person (Proverbs

Paul commended himself as a minister of God by showing
kindness (2 Corinthians 6:4, 6). He encouraged us to put on, as the
“elect of God,” “tender mercies [and] kindness” (Colossians 3:12), and
told us to be kind and tenderhearted to one another (Ephesians
4:32). Peter encourages us to give all diligence to add to our
Christian growth “brotherly kindness” (2 Peter 1:5, 7).

requires action! We need to be kind in thought, word and deed. Kindness
is defined as the quality of BEING kind, and includes kindly FEELINGS
as well as kind ACTS of service. When we realize how kind God is toward
us (Ephesians 2:4-7; Titus 3:4), we ought to be kind to others,
including, but not limited to, those who are showing us kindness (2
Samuel 10:2). We are to become like God the Most High, who is even kind
to the unthankful and evil (Luke 6:35).

When God’s love is in us,
we WILL BE kind (1 Corinthians 13:4), as the fruit of God’s Spirit
includes “kindness” (Galatians 5:22). Therefore, as we have
opportunity, let us do good to all, by showing kindness, especially to
those who are of the household of faith (Galatians 6:10).

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