by Kevin Burton
When a person works out, exercising and lifting weights, you will see the evidence of that work in the form of muscle development.
The characteristics of a life yielded to Christ are also evident. The Apostle Paul calls it the fruit of the Spirit in Galatians 5:22.23. We’ve been talking about them in a series on page 7. Today we look at kindness.
“Be kind, rewind.” Remember that one? It’s the little sign that used to be on the VHS tapes we rented, urging us to rewind the tapes before taking them back to the store.
Biblical kindness goes well beyond that. And, it’s not just for your friends and family, but for everyone. Here are the words of Jesus, from Matt. 5: 43-47 (NKJV):
“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.”
“For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet your brethren only, what do you do more than others? Do not even the tax collectors do so? ”
“When we exhibit the kindness of God, we are tender, benevolent, and useful to others. Every action, every word will have the flavor of grace in it,” reads a passage on www.gotquestions.org. “To maintain this attitude toward those we love is hard enough. To express kindness toward those who are against us requires the work of God (2 Cor. 6:4-6). That is why kindness is a fruit of the Spirit.”
“The Greek word translated ‘kind’ in 1 Cor. 13:4 literally means ‘useful,’ ‘serving,’ or ‘gracious,’” writes Jo0hn McArthur, speaker on the Grace To You radio ministry. “It isn’t simply the sweet attitude we usually associate with kindness; it’s the idea of being useful to others.”
“It’s the flip side of patience,” McArthur wrote. “Patience endures abuses from others; kindness repays them with good deeds.
“God committed the supreme act of kindness when He provided salvation for lost sinners,” McArthur wrote. “Titus 3:3-5 says, ‘We also once were foolish ourselves, disobedient, deceived, enslaved to various lusts and pleasures, spending our life in malice and envy, hateful, hating one another. But when the kindness of God our Savior and His love for mankind appeared, He saved us.”
“Kindness is the characteristic that led God to provide salvation for us (Titus 3:4-5; Romans 2:4; 11:22),” agrees the gotquestions website. “Kindness leads God to give us green pastures, quiet waters, and the restoration of our souls when we’re weary (Psalm 23:2-3). It is God’s tender care that makes Him want to gather us under His wings, to protect us and keep us close to Him (Psalm 17:8; 36:7; 61:4; Matthew 23:37).”
“God expressed kindness when He provided for Elijah and the widow of Zarephath during a drought—and He showed more kindness later when He raised the widow’s only son from the dead (1 Kings 17:8-24),” reads the gotquestions post. “When Sarah exiled Hagar and Ishmael, God gave the outcasts kindness in the form of water and hope (Genesis 21:9-21).”
“On multiple occasions, kindness induced Jesus to stop what He was doing and help others in need (Mark 6:34; Mark 7:29; Mark 10:46-52). And kindness leads the Good Shepherd to rescue us when we stray (Luke 15:3-7). In kindness He ‘gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart; he gently leads those that have young’ (Isaiah 40:11),” according to the website.
“Jesus said, ‘Take My yoke upon you, and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart; and you shall find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy, and My load is light” (Matt. 11:29-30),” McArthur wrote.
“The word translated ‘easy’ is translated ‘kind’ in 1 Cor. 13:4. Jesus was saying, ‘Trust in Me and I’ll redeem you and show you My kindness.’”
“Since ‘you have tasted the kindness of the Lord’ (1 Pet. 2:3), you should be anxious to show kindness to others,” McArthur wrote. “That’s what Paul wanted the Corinthian believers to do. He knew they had the capacity, but they needed to repent of their selfish ways and allow love to dominate their lives.”
We as 21st-century Christians are under the same admonition.