By Sheryl Murray
“She opens her mouth in wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.” Proverbs 31:26
Be kind to your sister!
Commit random acts of kindness!
Thank you for your kindness!
Kindness, like its more formal cousin, politeness, is the oil that makes a society run smoothly. To the modern ears it might sound old-fashioned and maybe a bit archaic, so it came to me as no surprise when I discovered the use of the word has greatly decreased in the past 150 years. Yet, it exudes a lifestyle that speaks of peace and gentleness beyond the confines of time. Our modern hearts long for this quality in our lives.
Kindness- it’s difficult to describe, but we all know how it feels. It makes people feel valued, cared for, concerned about, comforted. Kindness can come from someone who loves us deeply or from a total stranger. A kind act can take days or years to come to fruition or happen in a moment. Many acts of kindness become our most treasured memories, even the ones, or maybe especially the ones, that come from total strangers.
In Matthew 7:12, Jesus sums up a life of kindness with this admonition: “So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you.” This “golden rule” is the definition of kindness.
Many Bible women acted with kindness. Those listed by name in my Bible concordance are many:
- Sarah- doing a kindness to her husband Abraham
- Rebecca- kindness in watering Abraham’s servant’s camels
- Ruth- showing kindness to her mother-in-law Naomi and her future husband Boaz
- Esther- found kindness in dealing with the King Ahasuerus
- Tabitha- abounding with deeds of kindness
In addition, other women would be included in the kindnesses shown to King David, Paul, the apostles, and others throughout the Old and New Testaments. The opening verse above includes kindness as one of the virtues of a noble woman found in the Proverbs 31.
But like the other fruits of the Spirit, kindness doesn’t come naturally. Naturally, we are selfish, rude, and callous toward others. In ourselves, we certainly aren’t interested in showing deference (another old-fashioned word) to others. No, our natural, unregenerate selves are no help in teaching us kindness.
But God is overflowing with kindness. He shows us His kindness in His mercy, His compassion, His forbearance, His forgiveness. The Bible speaks of His kindness in many ways:
- showing kindness
- tasting the kindness of the Lord
- His lovingkindness
- unfailing kindness
- everlasting kindness
- riches of His kindness
- the kindness and love of God our Savior
Thus, kindness comes to us as a fruit of the Spirit. Once we have accepted Christ as our Lord and Savior, His Spirit dwells in us and begins to transform our minds and hearts and wills. We have the power to be kind. In addition, the Spirit gives us the wisdom to teach kindness to others.
How about you? Are you willing to allow the Spirit to show God’s kindness through you? In your words? In your actions? Even in your thoughts? What would your life and others around you look like if you chose the kindness option?