Kindness is a virtue that Christians are called to cultivate in their lives. It’s a quality that transcends cultural, societal, and religious boundaries and has the power to make a positive impact on the world around us. The Bible is full of examples of kindness, from the steadfast love of God in the Old Testament to the teachings of Jesus in the New Testament.
In this blog post, we’ll explore what the Bible says about kindness and how we can cultivate it in our lives. We’ll examine examples from both the Old and New Testaments, explore the concept of kindness as a fruit of the Spirit, and discuss how we can show kindness to our enemies. Additionally, we’ll look at practical ways to put kindness into action in our daily lives and the rewards that come from living a life of kindness.
As Christians, we are called to embody the love and compassion of Christ in all our interactions with others. Kindness is an essential part of living out our faith and demonstrating the transformative power of God’s love to a hurting world. By learning from the examples of kindness in the Bible and putting it into practice in our daily lives, we can become more like Christ and make a positive impact on the world around us.
Kindness in the Old Testament
In the Old Testament, kindness is often associated with the Hebrew word “chesed,” which means steadfast love, mercy, or kindness. This word is used to describe the loyal love that God has for His people, as well as the love that His people are called to have for one another. Here are a few examples of kindness in the Old Testament:
- In Genesis 24:12-14, Abraham’s servant prays for God’s kindness in finding a wife for Isaac, and God answers his prayer by leading him to Rebekah. This story demonstrates how God’s kindness can bring about the fulfillment of His promises.
- In 1 Samuel 20:14-17, David and Jonathan make a covenant of kindness to each other and their families. This covenant shows how kindness can build strong relationships and create a sense of loyalty and commitment.
- In Ruth 2:8-13, Boaz shows kindness to Ruth by allowing her to glean in his field and providing her with extra grain. This story demonstrates how acts of kindness can provide practical help and support to those in need.
God also commands His people to show kindness to others, as in Micah 6:8: “And what does the Lord require of you but to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God?” Kindness is an essential part of living out our faith in daily life.
Kindness in the New Testament
In the New Testament, kindness is often associated with the Greek word “chrestotes,” which means moral goodness or integrity, kindness, and gentleness. Jesus teaches about kindness in many of His parables and teachings, such as:
- In the parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37), Jesus illustrates kindness by showing how a despised Samaritan showed compassion to a man who had been robbed and beaten. This story demonstrates how kindness can break down barriers and bring healing to those who are hurting.
- In Matthew 5:43-48, Jesus commands His followers to love their enemies and pray for those who persecute them, showing kindness even to those who may not deserve it. This teaching demonstrates how kindness can be a radical and transformative force in our lives and in the world around us.
- In Galatians 5:22-23, Paul lists kindness as one of the fruits of the Spirit, along with love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, faithfulness, and self-control. This passage shows how kindness is not just a human virtue but a characteristic of God’s Spirit at work in us.
As Christians, we are called to emulate Christ’s example of kindness and to be characterized by moral goodness, kindness, and gentleness in all our interactions.
The Fruit of the Spirit – Kindness
Kindness is also included as one of the fruits of the Spirit in Galatians 5:22-23: “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.” This means that when we are walking in the Spirit, we will naturally bear fruit in our lives, including kindness. Here are a few ways that we can cultivate kindness as a fruit of the Spirit:
- Practice gratitude and focus on the good in others: One way to cultivate kindness is to focus on the positive qualities and actions of those around us. By noticing and acknowledging the good in others, we can develop a more positive and compassionate attitude towards them.
- Show compassion and empathy for those who are hurting or struggling: Another way to cultivate kindness is to put ourselves in other people’s shoes and try to understand their struggles and pain. By showing empathy and compassion, we can demonstrate God’s love and care for those who are hurting.
- Look for opportunities to serve and bless others in practical ways: Kindness is often expressed through acts of service and generosity. By looking for ways to help and bless others, we can demonstrate God’s love and care for them in tangible ways.
- Speak words of encouragement and affirmation to those around us: Kindness can also be expressed through the words we speak. By offering words of encouragement, affirmation, and appreciation, we can build up others and show them that they are valued and loved.
By cultivating the fruit of kindness, we can become more like Christ and make a positive impact on the world around us.
Kindness to Enemies
One of the most challenging aspects of kindness is showing it to our enemies or those who may mistreat us. However, Jesus commands us to love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us (Matthew 5:44). Here are a few examples of kindness to enemies in the Bible:
- In Matthew 5:38-42, Jesus teaches His followers to turn the other cheek and go the extra mile when someone wrongs them, showing kindness instead of seeking revenge. This teaching demonstrates how kindness can be a powerful force for reconciliation and forgiveness.
- In Romans 12:20-21, Paul quotes Proverbs 25:21-22 and encourages us to overcome evil with good, showing kindness even to our enemies. This passage shows how kindness can be a radical and transformative force in our lives and in the world around us.
Showing kindness to our enemies can be difficult, but it has the power to transform relationships and demonstrate the love of Christ in tangible ways.
Kindness in Action
Kindness is more than just a feeling or an attitude; it’s something we put into action in our daily lives. Here are a few practical ways we can show kindness to those around us:
- Offer to help someone who is struggling with a task or burden: Kindness often involves meeting practical needs and offering support to those who are struggling.
- Write a note of encouragement to someone who is going through a difficult time: Kindness can also involve offering emotional support and encouragement to those who are facing challenges or difficulties.
- Take time to listen to someone who needs a listening ear: Kindness often involves being present with others and showing them that they are valued and heard.
- Offer a kind word or gesture to someone who seems discouraged or overwhelmed: Kindness can also involve showing appreciation and kindness to those who may be overlooked or undervalued.
By practicing kindness in these small ways, we can make a big difference in the lives of those around us.
The Rewards of Kindness
Kindness is not only important for the people we show it to; it also has positive effects on our own lives. Here are a few of the rewards of kindness:
- Kindness improves mental and physical health by reducing stress and increasing feelings of well-being: When we practice kindness, we experience a sense of joy and fulfillment that can have positive effects on our mental and physical health.
- Kindness builds stronger relationships and creates a sense of community: When we show kindness to others, we build stronger connections with them and create a sense of belonging and community.
- Kindness demonstrates the love of Christ to others and opens doors for sharing the gospel: When we show kindness to others, we demonstrate the love of Christ in tangible ways that can open doors for sharing the gospel and pointing others towards the love and grace of God.
By practicing kindness, we bless not only others but also experience the benefits of a more fulfilling and purposeful life.
Kindness is an essential part of the Christian life. Whether we’re showing kindness to friends, enemies, or strangers, we have the opportunity to make a positive impact on the world around us. By cultivating the fruit of the Spirit and putting kindness into action in our daily lives, we can become more like Christ and demonstrate His love to a hurting world.
As we strive to cultivate kindness in our lives, we can take inspiration from the example of Jesus, who showed kindness to everyone he encountered, even those who were rejected and despised by society. By following his example and seeking to embody the fruit of kindness in all our interactions, we can make a difference in the lives of those around us and bring glory to God through our words and actions.