In some cultures, kindness is viewed as feminine and a sign of weakness. In our fast-paced rugged-individualism culture, successful people are often portrayed as independent, driven, self-centered persons who will do whatever it takes to get to the top. In our society, kindness is taking a risk. It’s putting yourself out there for others. It is being vulnerable to the criticism of your motivations.
Kindness is an attribute of God and this divine characteristic is dramatically different than human kindness. Human kindness is often determined by our emotions, circumstances, or our opinion of others. Divine kindness, on the other hand, is unfailing. God is always kind. Nor does he show partiality in his kindness. He is kind to the grateful and ungrateful, rich or poor, moral or wicked (Luke 6:35). As the psalmist writes, God is kind to one and all and everything he does is infused with grace. (Psalm 145:9)
Kindness describes divine love; it is God’s love in action. (1 Cor 13:4) Kindness is not about simply being polite or nice. God’s kindness is boundless with no expectations of getting anything in return.
Scripture teaches us to take on the same character of God and be kind. Proverbs 3:3-4 says, “Never let loyalty and kindness get away from you! Wear them like a necklace; write them deep within your heart. And then you’ll find favour and be respected in the sight of God and man.” Followers of The Way are to be known for their positive and cheerful demeanor, considerate and unselfish conduct, and empathy. Divine kindness is not resentful or prejudicial. Kindness does sort out who deserves kindness or not. Divine kindness doesn’t show favorites. When we show partiality, we break the law of love. (James 2:2)
Kindness is the ability to identify with others. It is seeing ourselves in others. Kindness is being fully human, meaning to become our full potential, to become transformed into God’s likeness.
Kindness is expressed in our generosity, grace-filled words, and helping deeds, with no expectation of something in return. Kindness wants the best for others. Lovasik writes, “When you are kind, you put others in the place of yourself. Self love becomes unselfishness.” (The Hidden Power of Kindness: A Practical Handbook for Souls Who Dare to Transform the World, loc. 77 of 409)
Paul describes Followers of The Way as sweet cologne permeating society,
Now he uses us to spread the knowledge of Christ everywhere, like a sweet perfume. Our lives are a Christ-like fragrance rising up to God . . . to those who are being saved, we are a life-giving perfume. (2 Cor. 2:14-16a, NLT)
The early disciples of The Way taught we are to “Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.” (Eph. 4:32, NIV) Romans 12:10 says, “Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honour giving preference to one another.” (KJV)
Recently, one of our relatives had two miscarriages; one that nearly took her life. During her childhood, she had cancer. While the chemotherapy saved her life, it did a number on her body causing her body to deliver babies too early. After the second miscarriage, the doctor advised she not try again. One of the women in her small group Bible study offered to be a surrogate. At risk and inconvenience to herself, her marriage, and her family, this woman chose to be kind.
Godly kindness is a matter of the heart. Victorians called kindness “Open heartedness.” A charitable heart values and respects others. When our hearts are right towards God and others, our lives outwardly express our love through kind deeds. Kindness is viewing people from God’s point of view. How would God act in this situation? What is his loving desire for them? How can I join God in ministering to this person?