Are you a kind person? Notice I didn’t ask “do people like you?” Or, “Are you nice?” I asked about whether you are kind or not. Of course, it’s quite easy to be friendly when out and about. But in your intimate relationships with your spouse, children, siblings, or friends, are you kind?
Along with being listed amongst the fruit of the Spirit in Galatians 5, Paul tells the Ephesians to “Be kind one to another”, and to the Colossians, “put on kindness.” But kindness, as other virtues, must be defined by Scripture not by our sensibilities. Our kindness to others must rest on the kindness God, which appeared unto us in the redeeming work of Christ, and the regenerating grace of the Holy Spirit.
God’s kindness towards us wasn’t shown on the basis of our deserving it, but because it’s in His nature. The Psalmist declared: “Because thy lovingkindness is better than life, my lips shall praise thee (Ps. 63:3).” The kindness of the Lord is superior to life itself. Better to enjoy the tender mercies of the Lord in death, than to live in the shadows outside His covenant kindness. His kindness sees your grimy faults and determines to draw you up out of it, with strong cords of redeeming love. His kindness defines your sin, in order to deliver you from your sin.
Now, do you labor to speak and act towards your family and close friends with the sort of kindness which reflects the kindness which God has shown you? Or do you bite and devour? Snap and chide? Snark and nit-pick? If this is the case, a simple action plan is in order, instead of unleashing a torrent of fiery words upon each other, daily set about to lavish kindness upon each other. And it should be the sort of kindness that looks like the God you claim to worship. If your home is filled with shouts and biting words, determine today to give three kind compliments to your spouse and family.
Our Father has shown immeasurable goodness and gentleness towards us. He’s not treated us as our sins deserve. Yet we all too often blow others’ sins and slights out of proportion. We unleash an ungodly volley of wrathful words and insults. Our words and actions fail to resemble the firm gentleness & lovingkindness which the Father shows us through Christ. So, may we go to God for forgiveness for the ungodly harshness which we’ve directed to those around us. The Lord poured us a goblet full of the sweet wine of the Gospel, and we have, too often, poured out to others a bitter ale of unkindness. May the Lord grant us grace to show to others the kindness which He so graciously has shown to us.