Monday, July 20, 2009

How would you describe “kindness?”

How does a kind word make you feel?

Kind/benign. The simple definition of “kindness” is our practice of benevolence and compassion with a loving attitude towards others. This is “active,” in its nature and meaning, and in its challenge to our complacency and our relationships. Patience calls us to wait, step back, and not retaliate a wrong with a wrong, while this aspect of love tells us to move forward and bestow blessings both to those who are loved and those who are undeserving. Kindness encompasses all of the aspects of love that this passage attests to, and then synergistically puts them into practice. It is allowing our interests and attitudes to be focused upon Christ’s precepts, and pouring them out on others. This act of love, as with the others, is not merely emotional or factual or intellectual; it is not to be rendered by a mere description or emotion or sentiment, or a saying we have on our walls. It must be real and it must flow unrestricted; our understanding of it must affect our behavior so our emotions and thinking are turned, tuned, and true to Christ our Lord’s lead.

Practicing kindness is a principle aspect of goodness, a character listed as a Fruit of the Spirit. The love of kindness synergistically combines with kindness that helps us model righteousness. This is what and how God has called us to be to one another. This character of goodness is the cabinet that holds righteousness in plain view. It is the display case that shows the rest of the godly characters and Fruit of the Spirit, making them real, seen, and used. It moves theory into action and theology into practical care and love. Goodness displays integrity, honesty, and compassion to others and allows us to do the right thing even when we do not feel like doing so (Amos 5:15; Prov. 25:22; Matt. 19:16; Rom. 12:17; 2 Cor. 5:20; 6:6; Gal. 5:17-22; Eph. 4:1-6; 5:8-9; Col. 3:12-17; 1 Peter 3:11; 2 Peter 1:3-8).

Kindness is the essence that shows the world that we are indeed Christians. This character is like the fragrance coming from a flower. It allows our sweet essence and aroma to flow to others. It is being convicted by God’s Word, and then modeling it to others. It is the medium through which Christ’s love becomes tangible in us, so others can touch, feel, and see it. Kindness is the subject to the object of who we are in Christ! Kindness will replace hits, hurts, and fears as well as all the bitterness, malice, and slander—all that is wrong in relationships—if we are willing to receive it from above, and allow it to be poured out from us. It is being willing to take the risk, to “go for it”—regardless of the outcome. To see how kindness can be used in the field of life, just take a look at the life of Joseph (Gen. 37-50).

This love is also an essential makeup of our character. Kindness is the willingness to allow the love within us to be poured out to others, powered by God’s grace and precepts (John 14-15; Rom. 1:16-17; 2:1-17; 8; 11:16-24; 12:9-21; Gal. 5:19-23; Eph. 4:24-5:7; 5:1-2; Phil. 1:3-6; Col. 3:12-14; 1 John 3:16-23; James 1:19; 1 Pet. 1:5-11).

Ask yourself this essential question: Is the love of kindness working in me? If you are not sure, or, if you think you are kind to others—do others agree? How can we be kind when life has hit us hard? Because God is kind to us, thus, we can be kind; furthermore, the kindness He gives us is undeserved! When we grasp the concept of God’s kindness and love, our response must ooze from the pores of our soul. This is kindness. Ephesians 4:31-5:2 gives us not only the picture of this happening, but also the dangers of our pores getting clogged up with pride and anger, resulting in bitterness and slander, the aspects of what love is not.

Questions to Ponder

What must take place in you for kindness to come about from you, even in times of stress and hurt?

How would that display our Lord? How can kindness be an evangelism tool for you and your church?

1. Why can’t love or kindness be faked or superficial?

2. Do you feel that you know the value of God’s love?

3. How can you allow it to affect you and flow to those around you? What would that look like?


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