Kindness

The Hebrew word for kindness is “hesed,” which is a beautiful word in the original language. It very often refers to human kindness shown to toward one another, but more powerfully it is a word that speaks of God’s love toward His people. In the Old Testament, the word is translated as “lovingkindness,” “steadfast love,” “unfailing kindness,” “mercy,” “goodness,” among others. It’s one of the Bible’s most important concepts. It carries ideas of love, compassion, affection, but also has the connotation of loyalty and faithfulness when used of God. In the New Testament the Greek words that are translated kindness are also used how God treats us and how we treat one another.

Speaking of the kindness that is to be shown to one another, this is a fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22). This fruit displays the characteristic of friendliness, mildness, and excellence in behavior toward one another. It is the state of being gracious and charitable and it is marked by a pleasant disposition and a tender concern for others. Kindness cares for the feelings of others and feels with them. It experiences the full depth of sympathy and empathy. Kindness is a quality that is very attractive to people. In a study of 37 cultures around the world, 16,000 subjects were asked about their most desired traits in a mate, for both sexes the first preference was kindness.

The Bible is filled with illustrations of kindness. Abraham showed kindness to Lot in giving him the choice of where to live in Genesis 13. David extended kindness to Jonathan’s son Mephibosheth by granting him the right to eat at the king’s table in 2 Samuel 9. In Joshua 2, the people of Israel were spying out the Promised Land to see what they were up against before they invaded the land. Rahab lodged two Jewish men as an act of faith in God. When word got to the king of Jericho, he demanded that Rahab reveal the spies in her house. Rahab showed unusual kindness and hid them on her roof so they could escape, paving the way for the conquest of Canaan to happen. In the New Testament you also see examples of kindness. The parable of the Good Samaritan is a famous one where great kindness was shown to helpless person. But the greatest example of kindness is that of Jesus. When Jesus walked the earth, He healed the sick, exorcised demons and fed the hungry. He spent His time teaching the people about God and how to be kind to one another.

Believers in Christ ought to show kindness as a regular part of their lives. 1 Corinthians 13:4, Love is patient, love is kind. Love is showing kindness and politeness, if you love you will act this was toward others. Colossians 3:12, Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness. The Bible tells us to put these virtues on, just like you put your clothes on each day, it ought to become like second nature. That is how kindness should be to a believer, it should flow naturally from a life consecrated to Christ. Ephesians 4:32, Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God in Christ forgave you. When believers treat one another with kindness there will be not room for conflict. Could you imagine what this world would look like if everyone treated each other with biblical kindness?

Scripture Reference

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness.

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