We each have identity in Christ.
We are chosen. We are holy. We are dearly loved.
As we live in love relationship with Jesus, we grow in Him and reflect His character in our own lives. Living loved is not only knowing we are loved by Jesus, but letting His love define and direct us.
In the last post, we looked at the compassion God has for us, and the call we have in Him to live compassionately towards others. The next characteristic we see is kindness.
Biblical kindness is about more than just being nice to people. It is about our heart and character.
In the verse from Colossians 3, the word “kindness” comes from the greek word chrestotes. This word speaks of the virtue of kindness not only as it relates to a person’s words and deeds, but as it relates to their very character. It is a virtue that encompasses the whole nature of a person, diminishing that which is harsh and cruel, and showing itself in encouraging, friendly, respectful, and helpful actions and attitudes towards others. Kindness is striving to act and speak in ways that benefit and bless others. To be kind is to have a helpful and considerate nature. Kindness is selfless rather than selfish.
There are many Scriptures that describe God as being kind toward us:
The kindness of God is eternal and unfailing, and it is an expression of His compassion, love, mercy, and grace. God delights in being kind to His children. He is kind even though we don’t deserve His kindness, nor can we earn it.
Luke 6:35 tells us that God is kind even to those who are ungrateful and live in ways contrary to His will. For kindness is God’s way of drawing people to Himself; of leading people to repentance. (Jeremiah 31:3, Romans 2:4)
Luke 6:35 also tell us that we are to reflect God’s kind nature by expressing kindness in our interactions with others, and in doing so, we are living as God’s children:
A little earlier in Luke 6, we read, “I say, love your enemies! Do good to those who hate you. Bless those who curse you. Pray for those who hurt you. If someone slaps you on one cheek, offer the other cheek also. If someone demands your coat, offer your shirt also.” (vv. 27-29, NLT)
These verses are not saying we are to let people walk all over us and take advantage of us. Rather, these verses are speaking not only of kind actions, but of a kind heart; a heart that doesn’t have harshness or cruelty in it, and so it doesn’t even think to respond or retaliate in harsh, cruel, or vengeful ways. Instead, it responds with the opposite: kindness.
In Galatians 5:22, kindness is listed as a fruit of the Holy Spirit. Kindness residing in our hearts and being shown in our actions is a result of God’s Spirit working in us. So by His Spirit in us, we can truly live in kindness towards everyone, even our enemies.
Kindness towards others shows itself in many ways. There are several verses in Scripture that show us chrestotes in action:
Kindness can be expressed in choosing not to quarrel, in speaking encouraging words, in respect towards family and those in authority, in being considerate of another’s needs, hopes, fears, and feelings, in serving and helping others, in being courteous and hospitable.
One place in Scripture where we see chrestotes clearly demonstrated is in one of Jesus’ parables:
Both the priest and the Levite, the religious leaders, passed by. They are the ones who should have been kind. But we see them acting in a way that is anything but considerate, caring, and helpful.
The Samaritan, however did not pass by. Which is surprising, because Jews and Samaritans didn’t associate with each other. Instead, the Samaritan took pity on the man and showed kindness by bandaging his wounds and paying for his care. This shows a kindness of heart, such that would not allow him to pass by one in need, even though they had their differences and disagreements.
Jesus told this parable to teach us what it really means to love our neighbors; not just those who live across the street, but all those we come into contact with. He teaches us that loving people means we show kindness to them, even if we have stark differences and disagreements.
When we are kind, we are living loved; we giving love. For love is kind. (1 Corinthians 13:4)
Never let loyalty and kindness leave you! Tie them around your neck as a reminder. Write them deep within your heart. Proverbs 3:3, NLT