Isn’t it nice to see people doing acts of kindness? When a teenager stands up and offers his seat on the bus to an elderly woman, someone gives comfortable clothes and food to eat to a cold and lonely homeless man, or another helps a blind man cross the street—whether you are the giver or the recipient, it provides that warm, fuzzy feeling that makes people feel so good. In fact, psychological studies show that random acts of kindness significantly contribute to one’s wellness.
But people aren’t always kind to each other. A person can be kind to a homeless person at one time but throw insults at his spouse after a bad day at work. Some may donate a lot of money to an orphanage while also selling prohibited drugs that ruin the lives of many young people. All around the world and throughout history, you can see man’s numerous acts of cruelty—from the inhumane torture devices of the Medieval times and the horrifying Holocaust of World War II to the atrocities of modern-day terrorism and from human slavery and racial discrimination to child trafficking. Mankind may be capable of great kindness, but it is also capable of great cruelty. Due to our sinful nature, we have that inherent inclination to do what is evil, and this creates that struggle from within (Genesis 6:5, Romans 7:14-25).
As God’s people, we are called to be the “salt and light” of the earth (Matthew 5:13-16). That means that we clothe ourselves with kindness (Colossians 3:12 Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering;) and show lovingkindness, not just to those who are good to us but toward enemies as well (Luke 6:27-36). History may be filled with accounts of man’s cruelty, but when the Gospel changes people, they allow the Holy Spirit to produce acts of kindness. Such acts done by Christians in the past made such a great impact that the change they made is still beneficial even today. Charity hospitals and hospices were first established by Christians who had the heart to help people in the fourth century in response to the devastation of famine. William Wilberforce, a former slave trader, fought for the abolition of slavery. Many Christians have done notable acts of kindness that represent the kindness of God to the world. Indeed, the Holy Spirit produces the fruit, kindness, that allows a Christian to go beyond himself/herself.
Kindness is best exemplified by God. In the Garden of Eden, God responded in kindness despite our disobedience after man sinned. He did not allow us to live in the nakedness of shame but made garments of skin for our covering (Genesis 3:21 Unto Adam also and to his wife did the Lord God make coats of skins, and clothed them.). His loving kindness made Him appear and rescue us from the vanity of our bondage in sin (Titus 3:4-5), and not on the basis of our deeds. It also allows us to be led to repentance (Romans 2:4 Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance?). His kindness is likened to a shepherd in Psalm 23. He provides for everything that we need, leads us into peaceful waters in life, restores our strength, and comforts us amid danger. This Great Shepherd’s kindness treats us like a lamb; He carries us in His arms and holds us close to His heart (Psalm 40:11). How awesome is His lovingkindness that, despite how we disobey and disrespect God with sin and rebellion, He still treats us with kindness. Knowing His character inspires us to treat others with kindness too, even those who are unkind to us.
By the power and guidance of the Holy Spirit, we are able to bear the fruit of kindness in our lives. Such good deeds should be evident in the life of a believer (James 2:17-18). We are saved to do good works, and it is certainly a privilege to represent the kindness of God to the world.
“For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.”
(Ephesians 2:10 KJV)