This is compassion in action that requires a sympathetic heart and involves giving to others beyond what they deserve but also what would be beneficial to them.
Some definitions have described kindness as ‘possessing moral goodness and integrity and also generously expressing it in our interactions with others.’
God’s Kindness vs Human Niceness
At times kindness can be aligned with niceness but being nice is something limited to the human nature and is a trait that the human mind repurposed to represent a version of God’s kindness. Human niceness however is limited in that being nice is us wanting to be in the good graces of someone else.
Being nice varies depending on people’s reactions to us and if it’s appealing to the situation. Meanwhile kindness is dependent on understanding what is beneficial for others and ourselves is necessary to achieving God’s intended purpose in our lives. It doesn’t vary depending on what is happening, kindness is always kindness, but being nice can differ depending on the situation.
Philippians 2:3-4 talks about thinking of others as better than ourselves this goes against our natural human tendency and the pride of the flesh. Who doesn’t want to save the best options for themselves and think highly of themselves? But Paul admonishes us to “look out for the interests of others as well and not be so self involved in our own situations alone.”
The idea of thinking of others as better than ourselves is linked to Paul’s definition of humility which involves having a true perspective of ourselves rather than the grandiose larger than life perspective we may tend to have.
In popular culture, there has been this terminology of being a ‘main character’ in your life’s narrative. This means you perceive situations and people’s encounters with you simply from your own perspective. This can sometimes bleed into cancel culture as we automatically believe everything done by others is a reflection of us and how they view us. Sometimes it really isn’t about us at all!
Jesus Christ – Eternal Symbol of Kindness
But God’s kindness is all-knowing and so much more inclusive of our weak frames. In sending his Son Jesus Christ, that is the perfect evidence of God’s kindness to the human race. He knew what we needed and provided a solution to the problem of sin and for our redemption even as we are undeserving of this grace daily.
The bible says “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.” (Hebrews 4:15)
Jesus Christ is the greatest symbol of God’s kindness to us. He understands us and can sympathize with us. This is the same kindness that God expects us to show to others, to be understanding of their situations as best as we can and to sympathize with them in humility, attempting to view things from their perspective.
It goes beyond just giving to charity, although that is a part of showing kindness rather it requires that we sympathize with the plight and situation of others.
Back in the day we know Christians used this slogan “What would Jesus do?” to try and rationalize what actions to take in different settings. The Holy Spirit produces the Spirit of Kindness within us and divinely enables us to put compassion in action.
As we have freely been given, we also should freely give to others. Kindness is unmerited favor, showing mercy and good nature to someone that may not deserve it. If someone did deserve it, you are giving them what they are owed by in showing kindness you are from a perspective that is yours. Kindness comes from a place of compassion and can be closely aligned with empathy. It means giving to others beyond that which we may owe them.
"Don't you see how wonderfully kind, tolerant and patient God is with you? Does this mean nothing to you? Can't you see that his kindness is intended to turn you from your sin?" Romans 2:4
Kindness & Forgiveness
Just as God shows us Kindness, it is meant for a greater purpose so that we are led to repentance daily and can submit ourselves to His grace and love. God is patient, kind and tolerant to us so we can also be patient, kind and tolerant with others.
May we not be like that unkind servant who after being pardoned by his master, doesn’t share that same grace with those owing him debts and chases after them for restitution (read: Matthew, 18:23-3)
The largest huddle to extending kindness to the same degree we receive from Christ is the fear that people will and do take advantage of that. That is why kindness is giving to others beyond what we owe them or what we think they deserve. We tend to question ourselves is my act of kindness being too naive or unwise in certain ways? Will my kindness be taken advantage of by others?
God leading us and the Holy Spirit guiding us will enable us to give beyond our capacity but not in detriment to ourselves. We place our focus on what God has called us to do in obedience to Him and leave the rest to God to handle on our behalf. If God enables us to show kindness regardless of if it makes us seem silly and weak in the eyes of the world then by all means call me weak! Because guess what it is in our weakness that God showcases his strength (2 Corinthians 2:9) and more so the foolish things of this world is what God uses to confound those that think they are wise (1 Corinthians 1:27). The result of our kindness should point others to the gospel of Jesus Christ. Either in showcasing your act of kindness you are given the opportunity to share the nature of Christ at work in you or practically people are drawn to the light and goodness of Christ and want to know the source of that kindness. This is what the fruit of God’s kindness should produce in our lives.
May God help us to live a life of kindness to ourselves and also to those around us, especially those it might be harder for us to show kindness.Tweet