Many of us have no idea how to treat others with kindness. As a Christ-follower, following Jesus’ example in the New Testament demonstrates a worthwhile goal to pursue. When Christ’s love and His Holy Spirit indwells us, kindness begins to permeate our thoughts first and then our actions.
When I look back at most of the people I have known in ministry, it is the trait of kindness that sticks in my mind. Many times, I personally received a direct outcome of their kindness or I saw them showering kindness on others.
But, come to think of it, kindness is the trait I look for or it finds me in my relationships with others. (Okay, I value honesty too!)
The trait that you look for or find may be different. It may be another fruit of the Spirit such as love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness or self-control. (Galatians 5:22)
While not exhaustive, some of the pastoral kindnesses I have experienced are . . .
- The pastor who preached the gospel when I turned from my sin and believed in my Lord Jesus Christ. [Bill Lawson/Wheeler Avenue Baptist Church, Houston]
- The pastor who counseled me and baptized me. [Dr. James Harris/University Baptist Church, Fort Worth]
- The pastor who gave me the best marriage advice ever. [Dr. John Bisango, First Baptist Church, Houston]
- The pastor who filled in to marry us when our intended wedding pastor had to cancel marrying us two days before the wedding. [Dr. James Riley/Former pastor @ Second Baptist, Houston]
- The interim pastor who loved our 6-year old daughter and led her to Christ and baptized her that very same day. [Bob Harris/Interim @ First Baptist, Humble]
- The pastor I saw sweeping and cleaning up the kitchen after our daughter’s wedding shower which took place in his church. [Jerry Howe/Second Baptist Church, Levelland at the time]
And, I could go on and on! Fortunately, my husband and I have been recipients of being in wonderful churches all throughout our married life. Each unique in their own way. Praise God!
Kindness from Christ-Followers
But, it’s not the kindnesses I have received just from ministerial people that have impressed me. I have also been the recipient of individual Christ-followers’ kindnesses, like . . .
- The ladies who brought meals to me after my children were born.
- The college professor who gave me a passing grade when I shared difficulties I was having grasping the subject matter in his class.
- The friend who consoled me after a horrendous breakup.
- The elderly churchmen and churchwomen who mentored my husband and me when we were young adults by their examples and “invitations to have lunch with them.”
- The friend who rejoiced with me when we bought a home while she lived in a small, rundown apartment with four young children.
Kindness was the trait that attracted me to my husband. When we dated, he was kind (and nice) to me. Need I say more after 39 years of marriage?
The Bible urges us to be kind to one another.
Honestly, I don’t think of myself as a particularly kind person. [Oh, I do not like saying that, but I desire to be a kind person.] When I see my rough and jagged edges, I don’t like what I see. That’s why it surprises me when I receive notes from my friends as I received recently.
One of my friends wrote,
You found me hiding pains and helped my healing: I am the vibrant woman I am today because you stopped where I was stuck, you became the step I needed to climb up and out: I am eternally grateful for your loving kindness.
I cherish comments like this. They encourage me to do better, to strive to be more kind and loving. And I appreciate those who refrain from telling me my bad characteristics until they are told with kind words—words that only the Holy Spirit can place in their hearts.
Moses’ father-in-law Jethro knew how to show grace and kindness when it came time to lead Moses to a better life when Moses was overloaded by all his pastoral duties.
The thing you are doing is not good. You will surely wear out, both yourself and these people who are with you, for the task is too heavy for you; you cannot do it alone. Then he began to counsel him and teach him how to handle disputes by having the difficult decisions brought to him and having the minor decisions handled by the judges. (Exodus 18)
Now, that’s kindness in action!
Kindness is one of the fruits of the Spirit. When speaking about walking by the Spirit, Paul states the following, concluding with kindness being one of the fruits of the Spirit:
But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh. For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please.
But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the Law. Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things, there is no law.
Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit. Let us not become boastful, challenging one another, envying one another (Read Galatians 5:16-26).
Why Should We Be Kind To Each Other?
- As believers, we are commanded to be kind. (Colossians 3:21)
- Be kind so that the word of God may not be criticized or attacked. (Titus 2:5)
- Because the Lord is kind. Psalm 145:17. (Titus 3:4)
- God tells us to be kind because he is kind to the ungrateful and the evil. (Luke 6:35)
- God’s kindness is meant to lead us to repentance. (Romans 2:4)
- If you are kind, you will find life, righteousness, and honor. (Proverbs 21:21)
- The Bible tells us that servants of God should be kind to everyone and not quarrelsome. (2 Timothy 2:24)
- The Bible tells us to remember people kindly. (1 Thessalonians 3:6)
- We should be kind to one another as God in Christ forgave us. (Ephesians 4:32)
- You benefit yourself if you are kind while a cruel man hurts himself. (Proverbs 11:17)
As Christ-followers, no matter what we encounter in life, we are faced with many different situations and personalities. Obviously, sometimes we don’t feel like being kind. Fatigue, restlessness, and/or sin may cause our focus to shift away easily from God and His attributes.
Faced with our sometimes unkind attitudes, we should repent daily and pray that our lives will reflect the love of God in all we do—including being kind. Being kind involves loving others, being patient, and seeking God’s wisdom in all we say and do.
And, when we fail, let’s confess our harsh and callous hearts to God, and start over—even if it means addressing and apologizing to those whom we have hurt.
Now in Joppa there was a disciple named Tabitha (which translated in Greek is called Dorcas); this woman was abounding with deeds of kindness and charity which she continually did. (Acts 9:36)
But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High; for He Himself is kind to ungrateful and evil men. (Luke 6:35)
Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you. (Ephesians 4:32)
Dear Jesus, I so want to be kind. Help me each day to seek Your face and become more like You. Show me how to be kind to both my friends and enemies. Fill me with Your Holy Spirit and guide me to situations where I need to shower others with kindness. Where I need to seek forgiveness, show me how to confess. You are holy and kind and I want to be like You in all I say, think, or do. In Christ. Amen.
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Edited by E. Johnson