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Thursday, January 20, 2022

The Importance of Kindness

Although kindness is a rare commodity in some quarters these days, the Judeo-Christian Bible makes very plain that it is an essential quality for Christians to exhibit. However, even in the Old Testament, the importance of this quality (kindness) to God is underscored in numerous passages. In the 145th Psalm, we are informed that "The Lord is righteous in everything he does; he is filled with kindness" (17). Indeed, in the book of Proverbs, we are warned that "Your kindness will reward you, but your cruelty will destroy you!" (11:17) Kindness is one of the central themes of the book of Ruth. A lack of kindness was one of the things for which the prophet Hosea reprimanded the Israelites (4:1).

In the New Testament, however, kindness is shown to be an essential feature of being a Christian. In fact, the Apostle Paul included kindness as part of his famous definition of love (I Corinthians 13:4), and every serious student of the New Testament knows that Christ made love the hallmark of his people. Indeed, in his letter to the saints of Galatia, Paul identified kindness as one of the fruits or evidences of the Holy Spirit (5:22). Likewise, he enjoined the saints of Colossae to "clothe" themselves with kindness (3:12) and told the Ephesians to "be kind to each other" (4:32).


In this connection, Strong's informs us that the original linguistically related Greek words that appear as "kind" or "kindness" in English translations convey the sense of benignity, usefulness, helpfulness, gentleness, and/or mildness. Merriam-Webster's Dictionary defines the adjective "kind" as "of a sympathetic or helpful nature, of a forbearing nature: gentle, arising from or characterized by sympathy or forbearance." Hence, we see from this definition that our English words "kind/kindness" perfectly convey the sense of the original Greek. In other words, even without the context of Christ's teachings on meekness, forgiveness, empathy and helpfulness to others, it is clear that Christians were/are expected to eschew harshness, aggression, and the kind of judgmental attitudes which are, unfortunately, all too often a common feature of the world around us. Clearly, the God of the Judeo-Christian Scriptures expects better of his people!


“Kindness is a language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see.”
― Mark Twain 

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