By Richard W. Darnell | June 22, 2020 [Hebrew: 30 Sivan 5780]
It costs nothing to be kind. The rewards are innumerable. Other people will respond (generally) very positively to one who is kind. Typically, when we are kind (no put-on) we are gentler with our words and certainly our volume. I am not suggesting that we cow down to an aggressive person – on the contrary, pile burning coals on their head with stern kindness. (Proverbs 25:21-22)
Psalm 145:17(TLV)*, reads, “Adonai (God) is righteous in all His ways and kind in all His deeds.” This declares that one of God’s character attributes is kindness in all things. Each breath we take is confirmed proof of this Godly trait. But we cannot always see God’s kindness during sickness, physical or emotional pain, or those difficult moments of human life. However, even in the bleakest moments of human misery, God remains kind and will bring some good from the adversity we experience. Romans 8:28 (TLV) reads, “Now we know that all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to His purpose.” This scripture is literal and spiritual simultaneously. Literal in that the words may be taken at face value and as combined. Spiritually, these words declare an inalienable right guaranteed to each faithful Christian. No matter how rude, ruthless, hateful, hurtful, violent, mean, or similar occurrence we know we win (Revelation 1-22, all translations). Whether the event results in our death or not, God uses the situation for good for His Faithful servants.
God’s greatest kindness for us is fully contained and confirmed in salvation. We were God’s enemies with no chance of redeeming ourselves and therefore, we were in a hopeless condition with no hope from loss, grief, and eternal anguish. In this condition of hopelessness, God’s mercy was cast upon our Messiah – God’s only begotten Son – who voluntarily yielded to the cruelty resulting in His death on a cross as our substitute. He literally died for me, you, and everyone. Salvation is available to every person born whether they take advantage of God’s gift and acknowledge the full measure of faith given to everyone. All we are asked to do is accept the Son and acknowledge the faith given us by totally, without reservation, trusting our Lord and Savior. This priceless gift of redemption resolved our depravity and made eternal joy our inheritance instead.
Today, when we act with kindness or ease the suffering of others, we act as our Lord and Savior Jesus (Yeshua), who is the image of our heavenly Father. Colossians 1:13-15 (TLV) reads, “He (God) rescued us from the domain of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son whom He loves. In Him (Christ Jesus) we have redemption – the release of sins. He (Christ Jesus) is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation.” [clarification added to “He” and “Him”]. Jesus told disciples that if you have seen me you have seen the Father.
As part of our new identity in Christ Jesus, we are called to put away bitterness, wrath, clamor, slander, and malice because we are now new creatures to which none of these fit. We are now called to be like Christ. Instead of being defensive, overpowering, and demanding, we are called to become kind, compassionate, and forgiving. Ephesians 4:31-32 (TLV) reads, “Get rid of all bitterness and rage and anger and quarreling and slander, along with all malice. Instead, be kind to one another, compassionate, forgiving each other just as God in Messiah also forgave you.”
These words were written from a Roman prison by the Apostle Paul who had every right to be angry and bitter because of his mistreatment, yet he advocated a courteous, compassionate, and forgiving attitude demonstrating that kindness and mercy are better responses in even the worst of circumstances. Being kind is best learned by practicing kindness intentionally. At first, it may seem awkward but soon it will be our standard practice.
With the power of the Holy Spirit living within us, we each have the potential to become a person of compassion. Is there a best way to develop this quality?
First, practice kindness. Be intentional by practicing the rule of Treating others as you like to be treated—courteously and gently (Matthew 7:12). When situations tempt you to respond harshly, see them as God-given opportunities to bless others with kind words and actions. Focus on their needs and not on your right to receive justice or give retribution. The heart of kindness is a humble, Christlike attitude that forgoes personal demands and is blessed in return: “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy” Matthew 5:7. People are often suffering in ways not obvious to us. It seems to me that having a merciful attitude means God will make sure we are treated with kindness/mercy, too.
NEWSFLASH: The most important place to model such an attitude is in our home. When our relationships with family are governed by kindness, your children are more likely to develop this quality and pass it on to future generations. Therefore, pay close attention to your interactions with family members and find ways to ensure that the merciful response is highly valued in your home. Treat your spouse like the best person on the planet – because they are to you.
Second, yield to the Holy Spirit. Galatians 5:22-26 (TLV) reads, “But the fruit of the Rauch (Spirit; or Rauch Hakodesh is Hebrew for Holy Spirit) is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control – against such things, there is no law. How those who belong to the Messiah (Christ) have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live by the Rauch, let us also walk by the Rauch. Let us not become conceited – provoking one another, envying one another.” [Clarifications added]. The “Fruit of the Spirit” is not a natural human quality. Therefore, it requires the work of God’s Holy Spirit within our hearts. When you were saved (obedient to the Gospel), you became a new person who is by the Holy Spirit being changed into the image of Christ (Romans 8:29). Becoming Christlike only can happen when we are walking obediently to the Holy Spirit’s guidance. This requires that we lay aside all the attitudes that do not fit who we are in Christ e.g., selfishness, pride, and critical spirit. When the Holy Spirit is living through us moment by moment, we will be empowered to show mercy through kindness to others regardless of whether we feel they deserve it or not.
Third, pray for kindness. Proverbs 3:3-4 (TLV) reads, “Let kindness and truth never leave you – bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart. Then you will gain favor and a good name in the eyes of God and Man.” This is God’s will for all of us; come boldly before His throne and ask Him to help you “put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience” Colossians 3:12. Now watch for opportunities and respond in obedience when you are reminded by the Holy Spirit to be merciful and caring to those around you.
In our world today there is much, too much discord, hatred, and division. There is a tremendous need for kindness and mercy in our society, especially among politicians who continue to be loyal to a political party after winning their election. We need public servants – regardless of the party affiliation. Where did our public servants go? I cannot find them.
We are surrounded by harsh demands and ever-increasing strains on our incomes. God has placed us here as His bright light of truth to shine in a dark and lost world. People notice gentleness, kindness, and forgiving treatment. Therefore, let us make it our ambition to be faithful ambassadors of Christ by blessing others with patience, peace, concern, compassion, and thoughtfulness. Be kind to one another.
Yours in Christ, Richard W. Darnell