When did everybody get so “hard?” I mean, I feel like everyone around me is clothed in this hard shell as if they don’t want anybody to see that they have any emotions. I don’t know if we as a society have just gotten so desensitized to human connection or maybe we have connected too much and that hurt that sometimes comes with opening up to the wrong people gives us some sort of PTSD. So instead, we close ourselves off to avoid feeling that feeling again.
I feel like now, of all times, it is most important to choose to be kind to one another. We have all tried the alternative. We have ignored other’s pain to distract ourselves from our own, pretended that we never loved in order to mask our own hurt, and even tried to distance ourselves from others by saying “can’t relate” a little too harshly even when we indeed could. In all, I think we should choose kindness more.
Galatians 5:22-23 states, kindness is one of the fruits of the spirit. “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.” -Galatians 5:22-23
Kindness Through God’s Eyes
To best understand what kindness looks like through God’s eyes, let’s take a look at how God shows us, his sons and daughters, kindness.
In Hosea 11:4, God describes the love for His people with the following verse: “I led them with cords of kindness, with the bands of love, and I became to them as one eases the yoke on their jaws and I bent down to them and fed them.” God’s kindness during a time where His people were wayward shows us that the kindness that God showed, and continues to show, His people is non-judgmental, full of love, and open-armed.
Titus 3:4-6 gives us another example of how God shows His kindness. It says, “But when the goodness and loving kidneys of God our Savior appeared ,he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior.” Titus 3:4-6 tells us kindness isn’t given to someone because they deserve it. It is given out of love and grace. If God can give us kindness and grace during times when we are wayward like the people in Hosea 11:4, why can’t we show kindness and grace others when they are wayward?
How can I harvest the kindness in my life as a believer?
God teaches us throughout the Bible that kindness levels the playing field--it humbles us as believers and allows others to see God’s forgiving Spirit through our actions. God gives us opportunities in life to show His grace and love. For most of us, this opportunity is not exactly preaching the Word in the middle of a sermon or sharing your favorite scriptures on Instagram. Rather, God puts us in spaces where our small acts of kindness act as a form of ministry in itself.
Kindness reminds us that no matter how different we are, we are all still God’s children. We cry the same, laugh the same, hurt the same, and smile the same. We know what it is like to make a bad decision and feel the consequences of it. We also know what it is like to have someone who genuinely is happy about our successes. So instead of saying “can’t relate” how about we choose to “relate” a little more by being kinder.
“Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.” Ephesians 4:32
Kindness makes you stronger
Choosing to be kind doesn’t make you weak. Actually, I feel like it makes you strong. Choosing to understand others and/or acknowledge whatever they are going through means that you are strong enough of a person to look beyond the pettiness that the world may serve to you on a silver platter and instead, connect with the human experience just a little more by showing God’s light.
Harvesting the fruit of kindness as one of the fruits of the Spirit first begins with acknowledging God’s kindness to you then emulating that kindness in your day to day interactions. It requires forgiving yourself and others, choosing to lay down a foundation of patience and empathy.