Often, people shy away from being kind to others because they have been previously hurt. For some, they were kind to people who took advantage of them; whereas, some people equate kindness with weakness; and where some people think that kindness is being fake. Whatever your initial thoughts are in regards to kindness, showing kindness is a byproduct of walking with Christ. If you are filled with the Holy Spirit, kindness will flow from you. In fact, it is proof of His kindness working in your life.
In various ways, I have had people take advantage of my kindness. Because of this, I built a wall around my heart and found myself acting in bitterness instead of kindness. But, as Christ continued to work on my heart, He chipped away at that bitterness and filled me with kindness once again. When I don’t spend enough time with Him, and time in His Word, it shows in my lack of kindness towards others. I’ve met people who think being kind will make them seem weak. Rather, showing kindness – instead of blowing up in certain situations – is a sign of ultimate strength. It takes no restraint to repay evil with evil; however, it takes a sizeable amount of strength to repay evil with good. (Romans 12:17-21; 1 Peter 3:9)
Talking about repaying evil with good, where would we be without the kindness of God? Titus 3:7 (ESV) reads, “But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, He saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to His own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by His grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.” For those He regenerates unto life, He does so not because we did anything to deserve it (Ephesians 2:4-10), but out of His great love and kindness towards us. And just as God has extended immeasurable kindness to us, we are to show kindness to others as children of God. Kindness and grace go hand in hand.
Colossians 3:12-13 says, “Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.” (ESV) The kindness of God is what leads us to repent of our sins (Romans 2:4). As His followers, we must show kindness to others so they can see His kindness through us. We can share the gospel, but without the loving kindness of God displayed from us, who will listen?
Like the other parts of the spiritual fruit, kindness – or the lack thereof – is felt in relationships. When someone is married to a kind person, it typically evidences itself on his or her spouse’s face; whereas, when someone is married to an unkind person, it is also usually obvious in the spouse’s countenance. Marriage is a symbolic picture of Christ and His Church – and Christ is kind; after all, He gave his life for His bride! Marriages that lack kindness show a false picture to the world of Christ’s relationship to His Church.
What about your boyfriend or girlfriend… could you honestly list kindness as one of his or her top qualities? If not, could you list it at all? How does she treat waitresses, elderly people, friends and family? Is it common for him to leave someone in tears? If so, what does this tell you about the condition of his heart?
Are you comfortable entering into marriage with someone who does not show kindness to others? When someone lacks kindness, it is clearly evidenced in marriage. Talk to a couple who has been married for years whom you respect and ask them how kindness plays into their marriage. We are our truest selves with our closest friends and family. A lack of kindness is more than a personality trait – it is a mirror into someone’s heart.
Does “kindness” describe you? If your closest friends and family were to list your top ten attributes, would kindness appear on the list?