Kindness. What does it really mean? I think of the verse, “The Lord's loving kindnesses indeed never cease” Lamentations 3:22
Kindness is more than just "being nice." The Hebrew meaning of kindness is showing compassion, mercy, or being good to another. But, more importantly, it's not putting one to shame. (copy and paste that) The importance of love and kindness together creates this beautiful atmosphere for us to be vulnerable and safe. A place to hide, heal, lean into, be messy, and rest in His loving, merciful kindness.
Kindness is the salt to the meatiness of love. Kindness enriches love and seasons it as it pulls out its fullness of truth. It saddens me that kindness can often be viewed as a weakness. I've tasted the suspicions of kindness in the workplace. People can distrust it, doubt its sincerity, or are confused by its goodness.
Kindness isn’t being a pushover, a doormat, or non-confrontational. But it can look like strong boundaries. It is kinder to give rules and gates before you cut someone out of your life or block them off completely. Kindness can disagree without dismissing or rejecting others. It can speak the difficult truth with love and without shaming someone.
When she speaks, her words are wise, and she gives instructions with kindness.” Proverbs 31:26 NLT
If speaking a prophetic word without love sounds like a giant gong, then sharing the gospel without kindness is the stick clanging the cymbal. We can not share the goodness of God without kindness. Showing others how to fall in love with Jesus is far more important than instilling the fear of hell. Kindness is the arms around a shoulder, leading a soul to repentance and directing them to a relationship with the Father.
“…Can’t you see that his kindness is intended to turn you from your sin?”
Romans 2:4 NLT
I get it; sometimes we have a bad day, and showing kindness feels like work. As I’m thinking about this dynamite word, I can’t help but recall times I withheld kindness because I was annoyed, hurt, offended, or tired. But when I withhold kindness from another, I miss out on its power to refresh me.
“Your love has given me much joy and comfort, my brother, for your kindness has often refreshed the hearts of God’s people.” Philemon 1:7 NLT
We have witnessed firsthand what anger, disagreements, and strong opinions can stir up in the human heart. Unfortunately, the last few years have shown us as much. Hatefulness festers, and we become enemies of those we are called to reach or we once sat with and enjoyed friendship.
Kindness is needed most when the situation feels the opposite of it. Kindness doesn't mean we agree with someone or something, but it sure as heck tries to find common ground.
I will end with this; kindness is a fruit of the spirit, meaning somebody will pick it. When we're having an off day. When we're exhausted. When the kids are extra wild. When unexpected company drops in. When the husband is home late. When the dog bites and the bees sting- Someone, somewhere, will test the fruit of kindness in us. The thing about fruit trees is they start with a seed, and everything that's needed to become a productive fruit tree is already in that little speck of a seed. But to really flourish, it needs a bit crap to produce a good crop. It needs rainy days for watering and windy days to strengthen its roots. Finally, it requires the transition of fall and the darkness of winter to bring spring's blooms that will turn into summer's fruit. These are the mercies of God that are new every morning. Giving us another day, another chance, another season to show His kindness to a fractured and broken world.
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,”
Galatians 5:22 NIV