Kindness is seen in the way we live. The Bible gives five practical expressions of kindness. In the next few blogs I’ll write about each of them.
One way kindness is seen (and tested) is in the way we respond when we are attacked or misunderstood by others. Kindness doesn’t respond in anger when wronged. It doesn’t react, but acts. Kindness to a person isn’t based on how we are treated.
Since love is kind (I Corinthians 13:4) replace the word “love” where I used the word “kindness” in the above paragraph and it shows what a loving person is like in practical terms.
The way we respond toward personal enemies, those that don’t appreciate what we have done for them, and those that try to hurt us shows the reality of our love. It isn’t evidenced by kind actions and words to friends we enjoy being with, but those that are difficult to love.
Jesus said, “…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”. (Luke 6:35)
Living this way means we do good without expectation of being reimbursed. This is the way God treats us – with love and kindness in spite of our sin and rebellion against Him. He is kind to the ungrateful and those that do wrong. It is not natural to respond this way. Only a supernatural love can enable one to return kindness when mistreated, hated and abused.
Again, note the words of Jesus concerning how we show our love in practical ways to those that wrong us.
“Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust. For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same?” (Matthew 5:43-46)
Here are practical ways love responds when attacked, slandered and misunderstood – bless (speak well of) when others curse you, do good to those that hate you, pray for people that hate you. This is the way kindness behaves in negative relationships.
A great lesson in any relationship, especially in marriage, that will show your love is the fact that you don’t have to have the last word in a disagreement. Kindness restrains as well as acts.
My preacher friend, Johnny Pope, says about marriage, “Friendship love can bring you to the altar, but only God’s love can keep you there”. If couples practiced true love there would be no divorce. Someone has to decide to do what is difficult rather than what is natural. May God help us to have God’s heart of kindness and love when we want to strike back and hurt those that have hurt us.
Is there anyone in your life that is attacking you or treated you wrongly? Love them as God has loved you. In so doing, you are being kind.