As the final post in this study of kindness, I want to highlight some virtues that accompany kindness. Think of this as a sort of recipe for kindness. Or like a kindness fruit salad. Or something. The point is that, not only do these things appear in passages that talk about kindness, they are also part of what helps us to be kind. And I don’t know about you, but I’ll take any help in that department that I can get because, as we’ve mentioned a few times, true kindness is not the easiest task in the world we live in.
My focus is on two particular sections of Scripture as we pull out these characteristics to complement kindness. The first is the Fruit of the Spirit (I wasn’t kidding about the fruit salad thing. When my mom taught these verses in Sunday School, she brought in a different fruit for each trait. It was great. But back to the point here). Galatians 5:22-23 tells us, “the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law” (ESV). And to reinforce those verses, Paul writes, “Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony” (Colossians 3:12-14 ESV).
First and foremost, we have to consider the connection between kindness and love. I won’t go too in depth here, since I’ve already talked about it quite a bit. But it can’t be ignored. Love is an integral part of biblical kindness, and vice versa. It’s why they are seen together in verses like this, and also why in translation they are sometimes attributed to the same word (like in cases where the word is translated as “lovingkindness”). And as it says in Colossians, love is what “binds everything together in perfect harmony.”
Along with love, humility and gentleness are also seen as companions to kindness. Paul instructs the Philippians to, “Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others” (Philippians 2:3-4 ESV). True kindness is selfless in nature, looking to the needs and desires of others. In Ashes, this looks like Ember finding a way to save her stepsisters, despite their cruel treatment of her. It looks like Ksa caring for the people around him, regardless of their status or what they have to offer him. In the Bible, it looks like Jesus, who “humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross” (Philippians 2:8 ESV).
Finally (at least finally as far as this study is concerned), kindness is linked with forgiveness and patience towards others. In Ephesians, Paul writes to “Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you” (Ephesians 4:32 ESV). It is inevitable that the people around us will make mistakes (just like we do) or do something hurtful (just like we do). No one is perfect, and everyone is bound to need forgiveness at some point. If we retract our kindness every time we feel it isn’t entirely deserved, we have (you guessed it) missed the point. To our benefit, God does not withdraw his kindness from us each time we make a mistake. He forgives and offers grace and kindness over and over again. The least we can do is attempt to do the same for the people around us.
So in reality, it’s not all about kindness. It is also about love, patience, humility, and forgiveness. It’s recognizing that we are not the center of the universe. We are broken, imperfect people, undeserving of kindness. And yet we are able to receive the gift of love and kindness from God and pour that out onto others. It’s a worthy calling, and I hope you will join me in it.
What to Expect
This particular page is dedicated to connecting my stories with their inspiration in God's Word. One of the goals of my writing is that it would illustrate God's goodness, love, and truth. These posts are designed to make those illustrations just a little more clear.