Love Is Kind

The Wednesday feature of the Worldly Saints blog is a Scriptural meditation whereby I take a verse or passage I have been pondering lately and seek to edify my readers with it’s promises, encouragements, warnings, rebukes, etc.

 

Defining Kindness

Kindness means “graciousness, well-disposed, or useful.” John MacArthur says that it is an active goodwill and is more than feeling generous; it is showing generosity. Being kind is putting yourself at the disposal of others. It is going the 2nd mile and the 3rd mile and the 4th mile. Matthew 5:40-41 illustrates this kindness,

40 And if anyone would sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. 41 And if anyone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles.”

A kind person is even willing to get walked on and all over, if it means it will, in some way, benefit others. It is a desire to see others be happy.

Illustrating Kindness

Someone who is kind is certainly patient with people, but kindness and patience are different virtues. Patience will take anything from anyone else and not retaliate; kindness will give something to one who deserves retaliation. Patience may be viewed as an inward mindset; while kindness is clearly outward and obvious. As one commentator observes,

“Whereas patience refuses to retaliate for injuries received, kindness bestows benefits upon the one who inflicted injuries. While the former is the passive side of love, the later is its active side. The two are companions walking side-by-side. … Love, because it suffers long, can take whatever is offered by an enemy without responding in bitterness or resentment, and because it is kind, can go the second mile to perform deeds helpful to the one who inflicted injuries.”[1]

A Biblical Example of Kindness

Jesus who, in kindness, said He’d remove the burdens we carry and give us peace in turmoil –

29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light” (Matt 11:29-30).

That is kindness. It was certainly kind of God to offer salvation and pour out the riches of His grace upon us (Tit 3:4-6). In I Peter 2:2-3, Peter tells us, “Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up into salvation – if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is good [or better translated “kind”].”

A Biblical Example of Unkindness

The Corinthians certainly give us negative examples of being unkind (e.g., like the suing of one another in Ch. 6). Another example is in Ch. 8 when they ask about meat offered to idols. The issue of offense is brought up by Paul – likely because some were being unkind to others and not considering their preferences or conscience. Paul told them,

But take care that this right of yours does not somehow become a stumbling block to the weak. … 12 Thus, sinning against your brothers and wounding their conscience when it is weak, you sin against Christ. 13 Therefore, if food makes my brother stumble, I will never eat meat, lest I make my brother stumble” (I Cor 8:9, 12-13).

Final Thoughts

Christians are to be kind and gracious people.

One of the earliest descriptions of Christians in the 1st few centuries following Acts came from the Roman world who describes Christians as kind. Jerry Bridges writes,

“Our natural inclination is to show kindness only to those for whom we have some natural affinity – family, friends, likable neighbors. But God shows kindness to those who are most despicable – the ungrateful and wicked. Have you ever tried to be kind to someone who was ungrateful? Unless God’s grace was working in your heart in a significant way, your reaction to his ingratitude may well have been, ‘I’ll never do anything for him again!’ But God doesn’t turn His back on the ungrateful. … We need to develop a kind disposition, to be sensitive to others and truly desire their happiness.”[2]

Love is kind.

Love

—————————————————————————————

[1] “Love and Gifts: An Exposition of First Corinthians 13”, pgs. 55-56

[2] The Practice of Godliness, pg. 191

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