by Rick Kirk
Kindness is a virtue that will be appreciated by any beneficiary. It is mostly underemphasized and has been largely overshadowed by love and compassion. Many acts of kindness are usually considered acts of love or compassion which they are. Kindness is love and compassion in action. James tells us that our action rather than our hollow and empty faith is profitable (James 2:15-16 If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, 16 and one of you says to them, “Depart in peace, be warmed and filled,” but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit?)
In the oft quoted passage about love in 1 Cor 13, love is kind (v.4). It is to be a part of the growing, transformed and faithful Christian (2 Peter 1:5-7… add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, 6 to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, 7 to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love).
In Matt 25:31-46, when the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, and when He sits on the throne of His glory, all the nations will be gathered before Him, and He will separate them one from another, as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats. Those who have acted in kindness will be at the right hand of God and commended, called the blessed of the Father and will inherit the kingdom that has been prepared from the foundation of the world (Matt 25:34). These would have given food to the hungry, a drink of water to the thirsty, provided kindly hospitality to the stranger, helped clothe the poorly garmented, visited and are concerned about the sick and troubled (James 1:27 to visit orphans and widows in their trouble), provide fellowship, moral support and encouragement during times of challenges of brethren who are “in prison”.
There are many stories about kindness that are being shared amongst families, friends and chat groups in the social media today. Some of these stories have been recycled and circulated repeatedly. Some may be true, usually with many embellishments added to accentuate the central figure in the story. Of course there are also tales that make for just a nice story that makes one feel-good.
In the Bible there are many stories of kindness that are recorded for our learning (Rom 15:4 For whatever things were written before were written for our learning, that we through the patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope).
One of the greatest story of kindness was narrated by Jesus in emphasizing neighborliness which humanizes the second great commandment after the first ‘You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ (Matt 22:37). The story of the Good Samaritan is a well-known, well-remembered and well-loved story that has been repeatedly used to compare a good deed of one to a stranger.
However the loving and gracious act of kindness by the Lord Jesus Christ himself personifies kindness in line with His purpose “to seek and to save that which was lost” (Luke 19:10). He who desires mercy showed great kindness, compassion and love in dealing with a woman caught in adultery.
In John 8:3-11 where the account of this story is found, a Jewish woman was apprehended red-handed for adultery. She was brought publicly to Jesus and set shamefully in their midst. She was mercilessly accused, harshly treated without a thought or care for her dignity although she deserves none. Her sin is punishable by death in accordance to the Law of Moses (Lev 20:10), and rightly so.
The response from Jesus was one of great kindness and magnanimity. He came to save, and not condemn “For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved” (John 3:17). After having convicted the accusers and supposed witnesses who had left them alone, he then addressed the real issue at hand.
Jesus did not make excuses for nor excuse the woman from her sin. Neither did He condemn her who was caught in the very act of sin (John 8:11). But He offered her an opportunity turn away from her current ways to sin no more. Had He agreed with the scribes and Pharisees and judged that she be stoned, the woman would stand no chance of redemption. Similarly, the act of kindness of the father provided a second chance to a reckless son who was lost and is found and alive again (Lk 15:32). There is great joy (Lk 15:7) when he received his prodigal son upon his repentance.
Kindness will not only be accepted by and glorify God, it will also help the world know that there is a merciful, loving and kind God who will give the world every opportunity to repent of their ways and receive eternal life. The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance (2 Peter 3:9)
And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you (Eph 4:32).