Kindness (Rom. 2:1-4; 12:9-21; Ephesians 4:32; Col. 3:12-14; 1 John 3:16-23) is the medium through which Christ's love becomes tangible through us. It is practicing benevolence and a loving attitude towards others. Kindness is the essence that shows the world that we are a Christian, like the fragrance coming from a flower. It is being convicted with God's Word, and then modeling it to others. Kindness is the subject to the object of who we are in Christ!
Cruelty, spitefulness, being mean, and holding grudges are the opposites. This can include seeking to harm someone, being cruel and rude, or just ignoring people you do not like. God created us for relationships, and when we ignore this, we fail in the most important aspect in life besides our relationship in Him!
We live in a world that accepts cruelty as being cool. Just look at TV and the movies. However, the Christian is called to be higher, while at the same time, lower. This means to be higher in our character and lower by acceptance of others (as long as it does not bring us down to their level!). Kindness is beyond just being accepting, liberal, or open minded. It is thoughtful consideration to one another, putting ourselves in their shoes. We are called to be kind to enemies (Luke 6:34-35), to strangers (Lev. 19:34), to family (Duet. 22:1) and to outcasts (Life of Jesus). Kindness is not something we confront. It is something we proclaim! We must change our behaviors to reflect Christ's treatment of us in how we treat others, on the road, in our work, school, and family. As society gets more complicated and crowded, kindness will gradually disappear, which makes it increasingly needed. Let us "step up to the plate" of treating and serving others as Christ would (1 John 3:16-23).
1. How do I exhibit kindness in my daily life?
2. What can I do to develop more of a kindness attitude?
3. What blocks the practice of kindness in my life? How can I make kindness function better, stronger, and faster, even in times of uncertainty and stress?
4. How can I make Kindness function better, stronger, and faster, even in times of uncertainty and stress?
- How would you define Kindness? Notice how Joseph's brothers were cruel to him, yet a jailer, who was a stranger, was kind!
- What are the things that cause you to be cruel or rude?
- How does rudeness counteract kindness?
- Boaz had no obligation, outside of tradition, to help Ruth, yet He did. Why did he (Ruth 2:8-16; 3:15)?
- When have you most been filled with kindness?
- In what situation did you fail to have kindness when you should have?
- What issue is in your life that would improve with more kindness?
- Think through the steps you need to take to put kindness into action in a specific situation. How about learning to drive without rage when someone cuts you off, or spending more time helping someone you do not like, or not letting your circumstances get in the way of being kind to strangers, even if you are in a hurry?
© 2002, Richard J. Krejcir, Ph.D. Schaeffer Institute of Church Leadership, www.churchleadership.org