Once again, I’m behind in my blogging schedule. I now find myself unemployed, so I should have lots of time to blog. Yeah, right. I’ve been using the free time to be with my precious grandbabies. Hopefully I’m now back on track with my blog series on the characteristics of “real love” found in 1st Corinthians 13:1-8. This post discusses “love is kind”.
LOVE IS KIND
In our passage on love I noticed that patience and kindness are joined when describing how real love acts. I think that’s because where patience abounds kindness exists. Have you ever just totally marveled at someone’s patience, yet known them to be unkind? I haven’t. So what does it mean to be kind?
Once upon a decade I attended a school conference for one of my children. I expected to hear the usual “they’re smart”, “they do their assignments”, etc. All good things for sure. But when the teacher said “they are kind” I can’t tell you how proud I was as a parent. Proud because I understood that long after their school days were just a memory, their acts of kindness would matter so much more than anything they learned from those school assignments.
WHAT IS KINDNESS
Kindness is one of the fruits of a Spirit-filled life described in Galatians 5:22-23. The dictionary definition of kindness is given as “the state or quality of being kind; a kind act or favor; kind behavior. Hmm. As I learned in English class, never use a form of the word to define the word (you’re welcome for the free grammar tip). I like Amber Penney’s definition of kindness from Christianity Today. She says “kindness is the ability to recognize the needs of others and take steps to meet those needs”. I think the need in others can be a physical need, an emotional need, a spiritual need. Maybe they need an encouraging word, a smile, a moment of our time.
KINDNESS FOR ALL
Who should I demonstrate this kindess to? Everyone. Everyone? Yes, everyone. Well, I can be kind to those who are kind to me. And I usually, most of the time (I try) (I fail) am kind to my family and friends. But as I take my focus off self I’ll be much more likely to RECOGNIZE a need in someone else that may not be a friend or a family member. Maybe it’s just an acquaintance, yet I know of some need. Maybe it’s a stranger standing in line in the grocery store. Maybe it’s a mom sitting alone on a park bench while her little boy plays and I see her crying. Maybe it’s someone who’s not like me. Oftentimes it is someone who’s not like me. If I don’t take my eyes off myself, I’ll never see these opportunities to show love through kindness.
Now comes the really hard part – I think I’m supposed to be kind to my enemies (Luke 6:35-36). Wait? What? Jesus said “love your enemies” and if love is kind… There’s a theological discussion on who is my enemy that I’m not going to get into in this post. I’m looking at it from the perspective of someone I’m around at least some of the time that I can’t seem to get along with, or who does something I don’t like, or maybe someone who just “gets on my nerves.” I believe that I’m supposed to demonstrate the love of Christ to even them, and one way to do that is by showing kindness to them. I am going to confess to you that I fail at this miserably at times. I think to myself that just seems impossible. Well it would be, but as God works on my heart it becomes possible. And He will always, always, always help me if I ask.
MY PRAYER TO DEMONSTRATE KINDNESS
Thank you God for your incredible, never-ceasing kindness, especially your kindness in saving me. Help me become more kind. Open my eyes and my ears to all those around me. Help me take my eyes off myself and recognize and meet the needs I see in others. Show me the barriers in my life that are keeping me from kindness. Especially help me show kindness and grace to my enemies even when it doesn’t make sense to me – as your kindness and grace toward me doesn’t make sense.
MORE VERSES ON KINDNESS
- 2 Samuel 9:1-13
- Psalm 103:2-5
- Psalm 106:7-8
- Isaiah 54:7-10
- Isaiah 63:7
- Jeremiah 31:3
- Matthew 5:7
- Luke 10:25-37
- Acts 14:17
- Romans 2:4
- Ephesians 2:6-7
- Philippians 2:19-30
- Colossians 3:12
The next post will focus on some of the “nots” of love; is not jealous, does not brag, and is not proud.