By Cindy Smith
In the world we live in right now, we want more kindness! We see signs, like the one above, calling for us to be more kind. We see people with t-shirts encouraging us to just be kind!
My husband and I were in Hilton Head, South Carolina a couple of weeks ago and saw a sidewalk drawing that said, “Kindness is a breeze!” It was a beautiful drawing with pretty flowers circling it. It is a good sentiment, but is it easy to be kind?
This one sidewalk drawing started me thinking about true kindness. What is it? Is it truly as easy as everyone says it is? Is kindness something I can just work hard at to produce in my strength?
We can all agree that holding the door open for someone is an act of kindness. Letting someone with few groceries go first so that they do not need to wait for you is kindness. These are easy-to-do actions that take no thought whatsoever. But is this true kindness? Biblical kindness?
There seem to be people in this world who are kind and it seems effortless. My youngest daughter is someone who loves being kind to others. She is always looking for some way to make other’s lives easy. I have lost count of how many times she offers to get something off a high shelf at the grocery store for older customers.
Doing simple acts of kindness can be easy for us to do. We can brighten someone’s day through a smile. Offering a helping hand to someone struggling or paying for someone’s meal is often seen as kindness. The truth is, these are all examples of kindness but also about being nice and feeling good about ourselves.
My question becomes, is this the same kindness we experience as we walk with the Spirit? Is this all the kindness we receive for the Spirit? I certainly hope not!
The kindness that we receive from the Lord costs a lot! It is not some simple act that He can do and then walk away from feeling good about Himself. True kindness cost Him everything. Let’s take a look at what I mean.
Kindness was showered down on us with the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. The Scriptures tell us that while we were still sinners, enemies of God, that Christ died for us. (Romans 5:10) We did not deserve salvation through Jesus, but, in kindness, it cost the Lord everything to save us.
When you and I offer kindness to others, we hope that it changes them somehow. Hopefully, they will want to be kind to others but there is no promise that this will happen. There is no power behind you and me being kind to others.
Now, the kindness that the Lord showers on us through the Holy Spirit has the power to change. It has the power to transform and make us more Christ-like. It overwhelms us and pours over and on to those around us.
Kindness has a sacrificial component to it. As I said earlier, Jesus is the ultimate example of kindness to mankind. We can only share true, Biblical kindness to others once we experience it ourselves.
Recently, one of the ways that I have seen kindness from the Holy Spirit, regards my mom. She needed to be in an Assisted Living facility. Her dementia was progressing to the point where I could not take care of her. Unfortunately, she did not have a lot of funds to be able to afford to live in such a place.
There are so many ways that the Holy Spirit stepped in and poured out kindness over this situation. He provided funds for her to be able to move to a place where she could get the care she needed. He provided friends to rally around me and support me through this trying experience. There are other ways I see His kindness and it is beautiful.
Kindness is meant to pour over you and me. The Holy Spirit wants to share His kindness with us as we walk with Him. He wants us to know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that He IS kind. We cannot share it with others if we are not convinced that it is meant for you and me. He wants that to be a settled issue for us.
At first glance, this image can seem to be more of the easy kindness that I mentioned at the beginning of this post. What I feel like it is saying is that we need to have a renewed mind about kindness. We cannot be transformed without that happening.
Renewing our minds starts with going to the Spirit. The Word is powerful and can change how we see the world around us. As we renew our minds about what kindness truly is, I think we will see it is not so easy to do!
It is easy to show kindness to strangers or friends. But is it easy to show kindness to someone we disagree with? Can you or I show someone who is on the opposite side of an argument loving kindness?
We live in a world where it is so easy to express our opinions on a topic and then draw sides of who is right and who is wrong. It is dividing us, friends! It is making camps and digging in for the long haul.
We need reconciliation and unity in our time right now. This happens when we share true loving-kindness with all people. The Word says that the world will know we are Christians by our love for one another. Showing kindness to someone we disagree with is the most loving thing we can do.
Sharing loving kindness to a person who holds a different political view that us takes sacrifice. It's us sacrificing my being “right”. It sacrifices my being able to have my say. Loving-kindness has us looking at the other person over ourselves. We have to die to ourselves sometimes in a desire to show someone His kindness.
The above photo conveys loving kindness. It was a sacrifice on this person to hold an umbrella for this lady in the wheelchair. We do not know if these two knew each other before when this photo was taken, but that is not what is important.
This man is sacrificing his comfort for the sake of someone else. Are we willing to do that? Are we willing to lay aside our wants and desires to be kind to someone else?
Kindness can be simple and we can find fulfilment in doing kind things. We just need to realize that when we are doing it in our strength, it is different. When we let the Holy Spirit overwhelm us with His kindness and it overflows to others, we are walking in the Spirit.
Today, take some time to think about how much kindness the Holy Spirit has given you. Talk to the Holy Spirit about how you can share kindness with those in your life. Take time to be thankful for His kindness in your life.
Cindy Smith is a ministry leader of Tapestry Of Beauty. She is married and together they have 2 adult daughters. Cindy is a teacher of the Word and author.