Kindness is Love

For the last two weeks, I have written on love. Love is the theme of the Bible and is mentioned too many times to count, so we know it is very important to God that we love each other. However, knowing God’s position on love and the types of love does not give us a direct path to showing love. The most important way to show love is through kindness, compassion, and caring.

I will start with the scripture that is the motto of my church. Matthew 25:34-45:

“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’ “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’ “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’

“Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’ “They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’ “He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’

The aforementioned scripture is all about kindness. I am sure you can see that you must be compassionate and caring in acts of kindness. Kindness, as the Bible aptly points out, is a trait of God and is in you if you are truly His child. The old saying “actions speak louder than words” comes to life if we read and embrace the wisdom of God’s Word.

Kindness is both a trait and a gift we give to others. Although we aren’t necessarily born displaying this trait, it can be developed as we become less self-centered and more focused on looking for happiness through helping others. Although we cannot control external events and the actions/behavior of those around us, we have FULL CONTROL over our actions and behavior. We can CHOOSE to be kind even when other people are not. We can choose compassion and caring even when our lives seem to be falling apart. Kindness is a choice!

Kindness often defuses emotional and difficult situations. Many people REACT in anger and spite without regard for your feelings. Sometimes their behavior hurts you, making you want to retaliate in kind. However, a kind response often throws the other person off guard and simmers down a pot about to overflow with mean and hurtful words/acts. “A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” Proverbs 15:1.

So how do we show kindness? Kindness is understanding, compassion, and sympathy/empathy (sympathy is feeling sincere concern for someone experiencing something difficult or painful, while empathy is SHARING the other person’s experience because you have already walked their road).

An act of kindness can be as simple as a hug or softly spoken words of understanding, support, and encouragement. It can be sharing time, sending a card, or giving a small gift. Listening to someone share their pain, hurt, or grief over a cup of coffee or glass of wine is a great way to show you care. The key word here is LISTENING! (The Forgotten Art) Let them talk through their situation and express their feelings without you trying to jump in and solve their problem(s). People do better when they solve their problems. Listening should be easy, but most of us find it difficult to keep our opinions, thoughts, and solutions to ourselves.

I have learned that although people have good intentions, the spoken word can often create more pain and distance when someone is hurting. One example is when someone loses a child. People often say “Well, at least you have another child.” That is neither appropriate nor comforting. It is hurtful. We must be careful in our efforts to be kind so that we don’t add to someone else’s pain. That is why I HUG people when they suffer such losses. I do not try to comfort them with words that can be misinterpreted. Kindness is properly assessing the needs of another and filling it with the right words or actions that will ease and comfort them in their pain. We must be especially careful not to give the other person what we would want in the same situation, but ensure we understand what will be helpful and meaningful to them.

Kindness is a gift you give with no expectation in return. All of us want to be loved and supported by others, especially if we are generous to them in their time of need, but it is not a gift from our heart if we expect it to be returned. Many people struggle with truly being compassionate and kind even though they expect it when they need a friend.

However, although we give FREELY of our kindness, compassion, love, and caring to everyone in need, we must also make sure we have an inner circle of “like-minded” friends who we know will be there for us no matter what happens. This inner circle enables us to give and give without an expectation of the same from every person we help.

In summary, kindness is a trait that must be practiced and honed to be constant. We must give it as a gift and not become cold and distant when others do not treat us the same. We are KIND because we are pleasing God, not because we are pleasing other people. When you understand and fully embrace Jesus inside of you, you are automatically and innately kind in all situations. Kindness is neither circumstantial nor situational, but a CHOICE of acting in a caring and compassionate manner in all situations. Although this can be difficult, kindness is the way that we show others (friends and enemies alike) that we are God filled and love everyone regardless of their behavior,

Kindness is a true reflection of God’s love and proves that we are true disciples and representatives of His presence on earth.

May you always be kind and take your hurts to God who will be your strength, encouragement, and support. “He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.” Psalm 147”3.

Kindness is LOVE…

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