How important is kindness? In a recent study of 37 cultures around the world, 16,000 subjects were asked about their most desired traits in a mate. For both sexes, the first preference was kindness!
As women of character, we must develop the desire to be kind. This character trait is critical in reflecting Christ in our lives.
I think most people would say kindness is going out of their way to help someone. That is true, but there is so much more! The dictionary defines kindness as: the quality of being warmhearted, considerate, humane and sympathetic.
The character trait of kindness is an important one and, in most of us, must be developed. It simply doesn’t come naturally to many of us.
But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things! Galatians 5:22-23
Paul’s definition of the fruit of the Spirit lists kindness as the fifth fruit. This is a natural progression of the fruits. If we exhibit the first four fruits of the Spirit-- love, joy peace and patience-- then we will show kindness.
Violence and other terrible influences in media can cause people to become desensitized toward the needs and feelings of others. Our children must be taught what it is to be kind and we must pray for them to have the desire to be kind to others.
Some people believe that to display kindness is to appear weak, but it is just the opposite.
To be kind takes courage. Displaying kindness toward another person requires discipline and a determination to take the focus off ourselves.
Paul warns of us an end time world without kindness in 2 Timothy, Chapter 3.
You should know this, Timothy, that in the last days there will be very difficult times. For people will love only themselves and their money. They will be boastful and proud, scoffing at God, disobedient to their parents, and ungrateful. They will consider nothing sacred. They will be unloving and unforgiving; they will slander others and have no self-control. They will be cruel and hate what is good.
2 Timothy 3:1-3
Where Do We Start?
Keep a soft heart-We must keep our hearts soft and tender toward others and allow ourselves to feel compassion. This is often a difficult area for those of us who have been hurt in the past. But it is a fruit of the Spirit and therefore it is important enough to focus on. Ask Jesus to help you keep a tender attitude and a soft, pliable heart toward others.
Look for opportunities-Watch for people and situations that the Lord places in your path that could use a word of kindness. Let’s purpose to be aware and alert to situations and needs of others.
Take action- We must decide to take action as soon as we see the need. If we hesitate, or think “I will do it later”, the opportunity may vanish. Taking action will often include some kind of self-sacrifice on our part. This often is a sacrifice of our time, or an altering in our own personal schedule. Taking action may be simply speaking encouragement to someone, giving them hope and showing them, they are not alone.
Dear children, let’s not merely say that we love each other; let us show the truth by our actions. 1 John 3:18
Watch out! Don’t do your good deeds publicly, to be admired by others, for you will lose the reward from your Father in heaven. When you give to someone in need, don’t do as the hypocrites do--blowing trumpets in the synagogues and streets to call attention to their acts of charity! I tell you the truth, they have received all the reward they will ever get. But when you give to someone in need, don’t let your left hand know what your right hand is doing. Give your gifts in private, and your Father, who sees everything, will reward you. Matthew 6:1-4
We must be careful that our acts of kindness are not motivated by pride.
What is every act of kindness we ever displayed was kept quiet and no one knew? Would we still be as motivated to act? Genuine kindness is lending a helping hand when you expect nothing in return.
Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too. Philippians 2:3-4
Live It Out
What does the word kindness mean to you? What do we accomplish when we show kindness?
Ask God to place kindness and mercy in your heart. Take a closer look at those who have not treated you kindly or mistreat others and ask God to give you a merciful heart and kind attitude toward those people.
Written By: Sherry Poundstone
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