Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.
The bible talks about kindness over and over again (check out Ephesians 4:32, Hebrews 13:2, and Proverbs 3:3!) It’s pretty clear and straightforward that God cares about the way we treat people. He values kindness so much so that it’s one of the Fruits of the Spirit – one of the traits that our lives should exhibit because we know and follow him (Galations 5:22). He doesn’t just want us to “be kind”, he wants kindness to be part of who we are. He wants our lives to be marked by an overflow of Him that shows through the fruit in our lives – part of that is an overflow of kindness!
Kindness doesn’t always come naturally. When we get a bad grade back or when we are feeling sick or when we are having car troubles, the last thing we want to do is smile at our barista or ask the person next to us on the bus how their day is going. The kindness we show tends to be dependent on our circumstances. If we are having a great day, sure, we’ll be kind. When it’s easy, we will be kind. If not, we usually won’t. It won’t hurt anyone right? We don’t gain anything, and if we’re honest, the person we are being kind to doesn’t gain that much either.
Issue is, that’s not the kindness Jesus was talking about.
Jesus was talking about a kindness that doesn’t make any sense. He meant doing things for others when we will get absolutely nothing in return. He meant being friendly, generous, and considerate even when it’s not the easy option. It’s going out of our way to do the right thing, even when the person did nothing to deserve it. True, unwavering kindness goes against what the world tells us. The world and our culture tell us to get mad, to seek revenge, to only love people as much as they love us. Jesus tells us to be kind anyway.
We can only love people from our own strength and power for so long, but when we partner with the Holy Spirit, that’s when we learn how to live in the kindness that Jesus talks about. When we decide to start letting the Holy Spirit into our day to day and letting God be our focus and center, that’s when kindness becomes easy. As is becomes easier, it starts to flow out of us more freely. As that happens, kindness becomes natural and we start to live out of the overflow of kindness that God shows us everyday.
God, thank you for your kindness. Thank you for being the perfect example and showing us your kindness everyday in the big and small things. Teach me how to live a life filled with your kindness. Amen.
- Sarah T.