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
Kindness. What do we often think of when we think of random acts of kindness? Pretty words? Random gifts?
The second portion of 1 Corinthians 13:4 states that LOVE is kind. But think about it…can someone give really good gifts, and speak charming and prettied up words, and not have any loving motive behind them? Of course they can. Paul addresses this in the first three verses of that famous chapter, when he says: If I speak with human eloquence and angelic ecstasy but don’t love, I’m nothing but the creaking of a rusty gate. If I give everything I own to the poor and even go to the stake to be burned as a martyr, but I don’t love, I’ve gotten nowhere. 1 Corinthians 13:1,3, MSG
Yes. We can speak beautifully. We can give great gifts. And not be loving, or even very kind.
So then…what is kindness? What does it mean to express kindness in ways that show love to others?
According to Stephen and Alex Kendrick, authors of the book The Love Dare, “Kindness is love in action.” Action. How we SHOW kindness. Yes, it is how we speak, and what we give, but it is more than those things. It is how we make others feel. How we express love to others in what we DO. And it encompasses a number of things that sometimes have nothing to do with the words we say, or the things we can give with our money.
Kindness is also tenderness, which in other words is the care and concern for the welfare of another person. It is sensitivity to their needs. Compassion and warmth. We are not harsh when we speak, even if we have to correct. And let’s be real-kind people do have to correct, but they do so with a soft tone of voice; while speaking the truth.
Kindness is willingness, or goodwill and a desire to serve another to meet their needs, the ones we are sensitive to. It is going out of ones way to provide assistance, even if it may mean we have to put our desires to the side. It is not just giving money or material things, but giving of one’s time and attention.
Kindness moves. It doesn’t sit around and wait for someone to act first. To make the first move. “Well, I will show compassion and take care of his/her needs, when mine are taken care of.” It sees a need, and takes the initiative to meet it, whether that person asks or not. It hears of someone’s strife or heartache, and lends an ear whether that person seeks you out first or not. It gets off the couch and moves towards the hurting. Towards the broken. Towards the suffering. Towards the object of one’s concern and love-not away.
It’s like this story we have probably heard many times, one found in Luke 10:25-27. It’s the story of the Good Samaritan. We know the gist of the story. The headline today would read: “Jewish man harmed in vicious attack, and left for dead.” Two men walked by him. Upstanding men. One a priest, the other an assistant in the temple. Neither stopped to take care of him because it would inconvenience them. Surely thinking, “Oh, poor thing. He’s hurt. Sorry about that. But…it’s really not my concern. Nothing I can really do about it. Moving on with what I got to do today. Don’t really have time for this.”
“Then a despised Samaritan came along, and when he saw the man, he felt compassion for him. Going over to him, the Samaritan soothed his wounds with olive oil and wine and bandaged them. Then he put the man on his own donkey and took him to an inn, where he took care of him.” Luke 10: 34-35, NLT
A despised man. Who wasn’t even supposed to talk to a Jew. He was the example of kindness. Tenderness. Willingness. Initiative. Action.
So now the question is-which one are we? The one not willing to be inconvenienced or bothered with someone else’s trouble; or the one moving to act? To show kindness? To show love?
“Dear children, let’s not merely say that we love each other; let us show the truth by our actions.” 1 John 3:18
Let’s not be rusty gates with what we believe are the words people want to hear, then doing the opposite. Lets move in love. Act in love. Show our love.
Remember-“Kindness is love in action,” so as that song mentioned long ago…perhaps it’s time for a little less talk and a lot more action. A lot more love. A lot more kindness.