“WISDOM OF LIVING (18): BE KIND”                    By Pastor YAU

Proverb 11:17; I Corinthians 13:4.                          February 27, 2005

 

INTRODUCTION:  The Greek word, chres-Teu-omai, from which we have “kind” as in I Corinthians 13:4, carries a double-sided meaning: on the benefactor, it means to make oneself available, useful, servant spirited. On the beneficiary, it means being gracious, generous gentle, kind, benign, have good will for others. For kindness to be effectively demonstrated, it takes both, the qualities of the kind giver and the quality of the kind acts. It is important to have the kind feeling about others, but it is more important to turn the kind feeling into kind actions which will benefit the receiver. Just as James says in his letter, faith without work is dead, (James 2:26) kindness without action is meaningless. 

 

KINDNESS IN THE BIBLE:  There are more than 120 times kindness and its variables were recorded in the Bible. They cover the spectrum on the origin, the model, the demonstration of kindness.

1)   God is kind: King David described God as a kind God when he said, “The Lord is compassionate and kind, slow to anger and abound in love.” (Psalm 103:8)  He also said “Thy loving kindness is better than life” in Psalm 63:3. From the records of Exodus to the books of the Prophets, we see again and again, the kindness of God demonstrated His unprecedented kindness in His dealing with the stubborn and rebellious Israelites. It is because of the kindness of God, the house of Israel is still here today.

2)   Jesus in kind: The Bible repeatedly shows the kindness of our Lord Jesus. He said He is “kind and humble in heart.” (Matt. 11: 29) He showed His compassion and kindness to Martha and Mary at the death of their brother Lazarus. (John 11:1-36) He moaned at the sins and rebellion of the City of Jerusalem. (Matt. 23:37-39) He also asked God to forgive His enemies who put Him to death. (Luke 23:34) He even used kind words to encourage Thomas, the doubting disciple. (John 20:26-29)  His kindness even extended to the healing of the servant of a centurion, a Roman soldier, an occupier of His country. (Matt. 8:5-13)

3)   We are told to be kind: Paul, the Apostle, encouraged believers to be kind to each other in his letters to the early Christians at Rome, Corinth, Ephesus, Galatia and Colosse. He also entreated Timothy and Titus to teach their congregation practicing kindness to one another. These include the infamous chapter 13 of 1 Corinthians and the fruits of the Holy Spirit in Galatians 5:22-23. Apostle Peter also asked his readers to practice kindness and mercy in their Christian living. (1 Peter 3:8-9) James wrote that we should demonstrate kindness to those who have strayed from their faith in order to bring them back. (4:11-12, 19-20) John also asked that we should practice kindness in meeting needs of brothers, (1 John 3:17-18) He also said that believers should demonstrate kindness to others as a proof that we belong to God. (3 John 11)

 

WAYS OF DEMONSTRATING KINDNESS:  There shouldn’t be any limit on the ways we demonstrate kindness. People who want to be kind will always find their own way to show it. Here let us try to suggest some common practices.

1)   Kind heart:  All kindness and its expressions begin from the heart, the attitude. Whatever is in the heart the same will show. (James 3:11-12) Jesus said that only good trees may bear good fruits. (Matt. 7:17-18) A kind heart will produce all kinds of expressions of kindness. It is the power or nature of the life that produces kind expressions. And the kind heart is the result of a born again life.

2)   Kind words:  This is the most simple but difficult act of kindness: our words. Before we hurt others in other ways, make sure your words will go first to show your attitude and nature. The Bible, especially in the Proverbs, has so much to say about using words to do good to others instead of hurting them. We don’t need to guard our mouth if we have a kind heart before we say anything. Kind words are those which encourage, uplifting, recognize, forgiving, showing mercy and acceptance. Plato said every life is a hard battle, be kind. Everyone needs some kind words once in a while.

3)   Kind acts:  Having kind words is good but expressing kindness in actions is much better. You don’t need to die for another person to show your kindness just do some kind acts for him is good enough. Giving a warm hug to your family when they come home from school or work is a kind act. Having some goodies ready before your kids come home from school is a kind act. Turn down the volume of your TV or video game when others need some quiet time either for study or rest is another kind act. Make or buy a small gift for your love one on ordinary days is a good surprise of kindness. Open the doors for someone who carries a heaven load is another one. Stop at a crossing in a parking lot to allow pedestrians to cross is another good one. When you know that someone is sick, hurting or having some trouble, make a phone call or write an email, send a card or a short note. The list never stops. You are only limited by your imagination or the size of your kind heart on what you may do to show your kindness in action.

 

RECIPIENTS OF YOUR KINDESS: In most cases, we all are kind to some ones at some times in some circumstances. Usually we will be kind to those who are kind to us. We may be kind to those whom we care or love. Here are some suggestions for us to consider:

1)    To our families:  Some may think that it is natural for us to be kind first to our families because these are the people whom we care and love. But actually that’s just the opposite. Many people, if not most, will be kind to strangers but not their families. They are much kinder to people at work, in school, their neighbors or just plain stranger, but are so mean and demanding to their closest, their families. The Bible says we should first care and love our families and we are worse than the unbelievers if we don’t. (I Timothy 5:8) Too often people take advantage of their families and treat them like dirt. Good will and kind works in the family were often times ignored or taken for granted. That’s very unfair. This includes kindness between husband and wife, parents to their children, children to parents and between siblings. We learn love and kind first from our most inner circle, our family.

2)    To our acquaintances:  God places us in places like schools, work, neighborhood, community and circles of people. Places like these are there for our benefits and growing. We learn how to relate to others, working together for common goals, sharing of resources and talents to accomplish things we cannot do by ourselves. The people in our circle deserve our respect and kindness. The degree of kindness and the ability of working with others, in many cases, may determine the level of success of our lives. Jesus taught us to treat others with kindness and respect when He said: “Treat others what you would have them treat you.” (Matt. 7:12)

3)    To God’s people in His church:  We were saved and placed in the Body of Christ according to the will of God. (I Corinth. 12:18) He did so to benefit His body, the Church, and not to our favoritism or choice. We are to accept, respect, care and be kind to each other in the Body of Christ wherever He places us. (Romans 12:3-18) The Bible has so much to say about how we should treat each other in God’s church and be kind is only one of the requirements. (Eph. 4:32; Col. 3:12) Jesus said if we love one another, that’s much more than be kind, the world will know that we are His disciples. (John 13:35)

 

THE BENEFITS OF BEING KIND: Studies done and reported by members of Random Acts of Kindness, Allen Luke, executive director of the Institute of Advancement of Health, in his book, The Doing Good: The Health and Spiritual benefits of Helping other, medical research reports by Stanford University and the Veterans Hospital in Columbus, Missouri, all give us many good reasons and benefits we should be kind and do kind things to others. Being kind and do acts of kindness may:

1)      Improve your overall health condition: Good and kind deeds will generate a rush of euphoria, followed by a longer period of calm, an emotional well being. This in turn will reduce the level of stress which are helpful in better eating habit and acid production, better sleep at night, less frequency of cold and flu or even depression. The sheer joy and satisfaction of being helpful helps to create a condition in which the body will function more properly.

2)      Improve your psychological value: Being kind or doing kind acts will bring a sense of “value or worth” in your personal outlook. The sense of importance through the positive contribution you have done will strengthen your level of self respect and the worth of living: you are contributing to the well being of others and that makes you feeling important. Kind acts and attitude also help to reduce your isolation, enlarge your circle of contacts and enrich your sense of belonging.

3)      Improve your spiritual growth:  By being kind and do kind acts, you are building a sense of growth in your obedience to the Lord by following His teachings and commands. Knowing that you are on the right track of spiritual pursuance is an important factor to your sense of closeness to God. Your desire of imitating Jesus is one step closer in every act of kindness to others.

 

CONCLUSION:  This is a hash world, full of selfish seek and don’t-care attitude toward each other. In the pursuits of personal goals and benefits, there is little, if any, room for altruism. But the Bible tells us that our being here in this world is to be light and salt, to make a difference among the people in them we live. Jesus is our supreme example of kindness and self giving. He gave even His life to save us from the penalty of sin.  Let me suggest a little project:

 

1)   Do an act of kindness to someone in the next 5 days, from your heart, naturally.

2)   Observe how the recipient responds to your act of kindness.

3)   Describe how you feel and the benefits you think you get from the act.

 

        Write them down briefly and send it to me by email: pastoryau03@yahoo.com. If you don’t use a commuter, mail it to me to the church address. I promise you total confidential.