It’s interesting how often the Bible associates “kindness” with God. Now to be certain, it also associates words like holiness and fear, even wrath. But for this moment I want to ponder the power of kindness.
The philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche — who is well known for his “God is dead” philosophies — argued that kindness and love are the “most curative herbs and agents in human intercourse”.
In Buddhism, one of the Ten Perfections (Paramitas) is Mettā, which is usually translated into English as “loving-kindness”. Tenzin Gyatso, the 14th Dalai Lama wrote “my religion is kindness…”
The Talmud claims that “deeds of kindness are equal in weight to all the commandments.”
In Christian circles kindness is often seen as one of the seven virtues which battle against the seven deadly sins. When you read the apostle Paul’s great definition of love in I Corinthians 13, Paul makes many statements about what love does, doesn’t do, and isn’t, but he makes only one statement about what love IS. “Love is patient and kind.”
Perhaps Paul’s insight into the connection between love and kindness might help us understand the following: In 2003, D.M. Buss reported on a study of 37 cultures around the world. Sixteen thousand subjects were asked about their most desired traits in a mate. For both sexes, the first preference was kindness (the second was intelligence).
So here are a few words from Scripture about God’s kindness…
Titus 1:3-5 At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another. But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us…
Romans 2:4 Don’t you see how wonderfully kind, tolerant, and patient God is with you? Does this mean nothing to you? Can’t you see that his kindness is intended to turn you from your sin?
In another translation of the Bible, that last phrase is written as… It’s the kindness of God that leads us to repentance. Do we live our lives as though God’s kindness has led us and would led others to repentance? Random acts of kindness might not be so random in God’s eyes…his plan for changing the world involves kindness.
Now let’s think about that for a moment…what would happen…
- – To your marriage if you practiced kindness today?
- – If you did three acts of kindness every day at work?
- – To the political system in America if we only elected kind politicians?
- – If our church was characterized by kindness?
- – To cyber-bullying if a pre-requisite for a fb account was kindness?
Last weekend — Halloween weekend — Calvary was kind in the community. Our Calvary College Connection gave away free hot dogs. Click HOT DOGS for a full story of that. Our Third Place group went prayer-walking downtown, gave inebriated people rides home, gave away candy, prayed with people, and was just kind. Then our Calvary Warriors Mark site gave away coats.
And when people asked, “Why are you doing this?” The common refrain was, “We just want to show you in a practical way, that God loves you.” A ride home and God. A free winter coat and God. A hot dog and God.
God’s kindness — to receive it and give it today — that’s a worthy goal for all of us.