Kindness has power that nothing else can accomplish. A loving person is a kind person. The Bible says that “Charity is…kind” (I Corinthians 13:4). There are two results that occur when we are kind to others.
First, it testifies that you belong to Jesus Christ. How do people know that you are a genuine Christian? It is not by your doctrinal convictions as much as by your behavior. Love and kindness give evidence that God indeed dwells in our hearts.
My unbelieving family and friends will never be interested in my Christ or my beliefs if I do not love them. Kindness isn’t dependent upon how you are treated, but how you respond when you aren’t treated properly. When we do this it is because of Christ in us. Notice how we reflect God’s heart when we are kind to those that are unkind to us.
“But 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)
The basis of the reality of my Christianity before an unbelieving world is that I love them – and love is always kind. Our ministries should be characterized by kindness. Paul was a great theologian and wrote two-thirds of the New Testament, but his ministry was characterized “by longsuffering, by kindness…by love unfeigned”. (II Corinthians 6:6)
The word “unfeigned” means “authentic and without pretentiousness, with sincerity”. Paul’s kindness wasn’t fake or to manipulate to get his own way. He genuinely loved people and showed it through kindness. This was one of the hallmarks of his personality and his ministry.
The Bible tells us to “Put on…kindness”. (Colossians 3:12) It is not enough just to believe in Christ as Savior, we must grow spiritually. Part of this growth is the way we love people through kindness. The Bible says that our faith is foundational and we are to add to our faith. Part of this growth is being kind and loving.
“And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; and to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; and to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity.” (II Peter 1:5-7)
A second result of kindness is that it persuades those that oppose you. We work so hard on our argument (appealing to the mind) that we neglect our spirit and can be unkind in presenting the truth. Your appeal is lost (even if the logic is sound) because of your lack of love and kindness.
Patience and kindness in seeking to influence a leader persuade him as much as the argument. “By long forbearing is a prince persuaded, and a soft tongue breaketh the bone.” (Proverbs 25:15) A tender word can shatter a hard heart. Even the most powerful and most difficult to reach are affected by kindness.
“A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger”. (Proverbs 15:1) Angry words beget angry words, but gentle, kind words tend to calm and extinguish angry words. Usually it isn’t what we say, but the way we say it that gets us into trouble. Kindness involves the tone of our voice – and so does anger.
Influence is not gained through merely fulfilling our duties, but through the way we treat the people whom we serve. This is especially important when we are opposed.
“And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient, in meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth”. (II Timothy 2:24-25)
Recently my wife told me a story about one of her friends that was on a flight and became engaged in a conversation with the lady beside her. My wife’s friend was a preacher’s wife and at some point in the conversation her seatmate discovered that and reacted strongly against her.
She hated Christians and began to spew vitriolic words to her. The preacher’s wife quietly listened and responded in kindness, without anger. Incredibly the anger in the lady subsided and she listened and then began to ask questions about what it meant to be a Christian.
At the end of the flight, Paula’s friend asked if she could give her some literature about how to become a Christian. She took it and this is what she said, “I’ll take it from you because of how you have treated me even though I don’t believe like you. You are different than other Christians that have talked to me”.
What was the difference? It wasn’t the content of the message of the gospel, but the attitude of the messenger. She was gracious, kind and loving. In that sense, the messenger is indeed the message.
If I want to influence my children for God it is not enough for me to just fill their minds with doctrine. They must see the effect of the gospel in my own life through my love for them and that I am kind to them. When I want to persuade them to my perspective, again, I need more than a powerful and accurate argument. I must present it kindly and in a loving spirit.
Perhaps you have tried a lot of ways to be a testimony to others and to win them to Christ and the truth of His Word. I believe in correct doctrine, but I also believe in loving people and part of that is through kindness (I Corinthians 13:4). Ask God to make you a kind person and see how God blesses your spirit and heart of love.