We all have witnessed and experienced acts of kindness. Kind deeds warm our hearts and brighten our day. On 13 November 2020, the global community observed “World Kindness Day”. It was a day when random good deeds were highlighted and everyone was encouraged to show kindness. But is this really kindness? Are kind deeds confined to only one day in a year?
“The ministry of kindness is unceasing. It keeps no Sabbaths—it makes every day a Sabbath. It fills all the days and all the nights. In the true home, kindness begins with the first waking moments in the morning, in pleasant greetings, in cheerful good wishes, and then it goes on all day in sweet courtesies, in thoughtful attentions, in patience, in quiet self-denials, in obligingness and helpfulness. Out in the world, kindness goes everywhere with happy cordiality, its gladness of heart, its uplift for those who are discouraged, its strengthening words for those who are weary, its sympathy with sorrow, its interest in lives that are burdened and lonely” (J R Miller).
What does the Bible say about kindness? Kindness originates from God. It is at the very root of God’s nature. In his epistle to Titus, the apostle Paul lists a catalogue of man’s sinful ways: “… foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, and hating one another” (Tit 3: 3) Then Paul follows through with the “Good News”: “But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared, Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost” (vv 4-5). There is hope for our world of lost sinners because of God’s love and kindness.
“Kindness” is from the Greek word “chrestotes” which means “mildness, tender-heartedness, a sweetness of temper which renders us greatly useful, as well as exceedingly delightful to mankind” (William Burkitt). “Kindness” is sometimes translated “gentleness” which is one of the fruits of the Spirit mentioned in Galatians 5: 22-23.
Kindness is a quality that every believer should possess. Christians ought to be “kind one to another” (Eph 4: 32). In the same verse, Paul adds a list of virtues that we as God’s children should cultivate – “tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you”. Writing to the Colossians, the apostle urges them to exhibit kindness, among other Christian characteristics – “Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering” (Col 3: 12).
From the above Scriptures, it is clear that kindness involves an internal change of heart. As we yield to the Holy Spirit, He enables us to be “tenderhearted” and to forgive others the way God has forgiven us. Our thoughts of others will be kind and we will desire to do good to them.
As God’s children, let us the emulate the example of our gracious God Who bestows blessings on both the godly and the ungodly: “But love ye your enemies, and do good, and
lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest: for he is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil” (Lk 6: 35).
As we begin each new day, think about how we can show kindness to those around us. Is there someone I can help? Is there someone I can say a kind word to? Is there someone I can comfort? Is there someone I need to forgive? May the Lord help us to fill our lives with kind and thoughtful deeds. (… to be continued)