Time Out (by Jerry Schmoyer)
What do Pharaoh’s daughter rescuing Moses, Rahab helping the Jewish spies, David’s treatment of Mephibosheth and Elijah’s response to the woman whose son just died have in common? They all were showing kindness.
Kindness can be defined as God’s loyal love and favor toward His people. In the Old Testament, the word translated as “kindness” or “lovingkindness” refers to God’s long-suffering love — His determination to keep His promises to His chosen people in spite of their sin and rebellion (Deut 7:12; Hos 2:14-23). This attribute of God was shown through His divine mercy and forgiveness toward sinners when payment of sins through the sacrificial system was no longer effective (Deut 22:22; Ps 51:1).
In the New Testament, the Greek word translated as “grace” best represents the idea of God’s kindness or lovingkindness. Because God has been gracious toward believers, they should treat all people with kindness or grace (Luke 6:35). All people are created in God’s image and should be treated accordingly, no matter how badly they have twisted and deformed that image (James 3:9). Kindness is not an apathetic response to sin, but a deliberate act to bring the sinner back to God (Hos 2:14-23; Rom 2:4).
God wants us to be kind to others because He is kind to us. Our kindness shows His kindness to others, and in doing so we become more like Him. Whenever we show love or compassion to others we are being kind. To an extend man can do that out of their old nature, but to show real kindness requires the presence and power of His Spirit for it means being kind to those who aren’t deserving of it and may retaliate with hate. Turning the cheek in love can’t be done without God’s power.
How can we become more kind? First, we need to submit to the will of God (Philippians 2:1-8). If we can’t submit to God’s will we won’t be able to submit to the needs of others. Then, we need a teachable spirit (James 1:21). We need to be open to instruction to make us more like Jesus. If we think we know it all already we will never grow more like Him. Finally, we need to have a consideration and love of others (Ephesians 4:1-2). We need to be able to put ourselves in other’s shoes and be sensitive to their needs.
Kindness is love in operation so others can see Jesus in us. We deeply appreciate God’s kindness to others. Others can experience His kindness through us.
Proverbs 14:21, “He who despises his neighbor sins, but blessed is he who is kind to the needy.”
Ephesians 4:32, “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.”
Matthew 5:7, “Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.”
Galatians 6:10, “Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.”
- Who comes to mind when you think of people who are kind? What is there about them that makes them stand out from others? (Make a list of traits or characteristics.)
- How do you measure up to the list you just make?
- Are you so focused on leading your ministry that you neglect doing little kind things for others?
- Pick 2 or 3 of the traits you lack and pray about them, asking God to produce them in your life. Then make a list of things you can do today to meet these.
Jerry Schmoyer has been a minister in Pennsylvania for over 25 years and has worked with teenagers for 14 years, ever since I became one myself. He authors the weekly Time Out series here at Life in Student Ministry in hopes to spiritually refresh your soul as you continually pour so much of yourself into students. God bless!
Posted on March 30, 2009