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Kindness

The spir­i­tu­al per­son is kind. He nev­er prac­tices cru­el­ty in any of its forms, but is always gen­tle in his rela­tions with oth­ers. Kind­ness, accord­ing to the Apos­tle Paul, is also a “fruit of the Spir­it.” (Gala­tians 5:22)

Accord­ing to the scrip­tures, God Him­self is kind. For all of His anger and wrath over the sins of men, the Lord is “kind to the ungrate­ful and self­ish.”(Luke 6:35)

For great is His mer­ci­ful kind­ness toward us; and the faith­ful­ness of the Lord endures for­ev­er. (Psalm 117:2; Cf Psalm 31:21,119:76)

Chris­tians are urged to fol­low God in His kind­ness and to do all things gen­tly and with ten­der­ness. Espe­cial­ly when rebuk­ing and cor­rect­ing oth­ers, the spir­i­tu­al per­son must be kind.

…the Lord’s ser­vant must not be quar­rel­some, but kind­ly to every­one, an apt teacher, for­bear­ing; cor­rect­ing one’s oppo­nents with gen­tle­ness… (2 Tim­o­thy 2:24; Cf Gala­tians 6:1)

Par­ents espe­cial­ly are urged not to “pro­voke their chil­dren to anger” by unkind­ness and cru­el­ty. (Eph­esians 6:4, Colos­sians 3:21)

Very often it hap­pens that peo­ple can be kind to strangers and to those with whom they have but a pass­ing and casu­al rela­tion­ship, but with per­sons with whom the rela­tion­ship is longer and deep­er — fam­i­ly, rel­a­tives, co-work­ers, fel­low mem­bers in the same church com­mu­ni­ty — it is some­times assumed that they may be unkind, and that they even have a cer­tain right to act care­less­ly and with harsh­ness. This is a great temp­ta­tion. Famil­iar­i­ty and every­day con­tact do not give one the right to act unkind­ly or to behave crude­ly. To those clos­est and near­est, the need for con­tin­u­al gen­tle­ness, ten­der­ness and kind­ness in every action and word is espe­cial­ly nec­es­sary. There can be no excuse for insen­si­tiv­i­ty and harsh­ness, what­ev­er the rela­tion­ship. Spir­i­tu­al per­sons must “do good to all men, and espe­cial­ly to those who are of the house­hold of faith.” (Gala­tians 6:10)

… for we are mem­bers one of anoth­er. Be angry, but do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and give no oppor­tu­ni­ty to the dev­il. (Cf. Psalm 4)…Let no evil talk come out of your mouth, but only such as is good for edi­fy­ing, as fits the occa­sion, that it may impart grace to those who hear…Let all bit­ter­ness and wrath and anger and clam­or and slan­der be put away from you, with all mal­ice, and be kind to one anoth­er, ten­der­heart­ed, for­giv­ing one anoth­er as God in Christ for­gave you. (Eph­esians 4:26–32)

Kind­ness does not mean over­look­ing people’s sins; it means for­giv­ing them. Kind­ness also does not mean “being nice” to every­one, who­ev­er they are and what­ev­er they do. It does not mean “going along” with oth­ers in every way. A kind per­son will cor­rect oth­ers, if need be, and his very kind­ness will be shown by his care and con­cern for the well-being of his fel­low crea­ture “for whom Christ died.” (Romans 14:15)

If your broth­er sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he lis­tens to you, you have gained your broth­er. (Matthew 18:15)

The cor­rec­tion by a kind per­son is nev­er with con­tempt or cru­el­ty. It nev­er ridicules, demeans or con­demns. It always encour­ages and edi­fies with gen­tle­ness and under­stand­ing.