I’d like to take a break from all the foolish talk and actually just focus on stuff the Bible talks about. So let’s talk about kindness. I have about 6 years of postgraduate theological education, but my theological background is not needed to figure out the Bible’s view of kindness. Just go to your favorite Bible website and search the word kind with all its derivations. If you’re feeling a little lazy today, I’ll help you out. Here is just a small sampling of what the Bible says about kindness.
“Whoever pursues righteousness and kindness will find life, righteousness, and honor” (Proverbs 21:21).
“He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?” (Micah 6:8).
“Thus says the Lord of hosts, Render true judgments, show kindness and mercy to one another, do not oppress the widow, the fatherless, the sojourner, or the poor, and let none of you devise evil against another in your heart” (Zechariah 7:8-10).
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law” (Galatians 5:22-23).
“Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive” (Colossians 3:12-13).
If you’ll notice, and again a seminary education is not required, kindness seems to be a crucial attribute of God and His people. As followers of God, we are called to pursue kindness, to love kindness, and to show kindness to one another. As disciples of Christ, we are called to put on kindness and to produce kindness as a genuine fruit of abiding in the Holy Spirit. In other words, if you are growing in the character of God, you will grow in the expression of kindness.
Ironically, there is little talk of kindness in the Christian blogosphere and the social media landscape. Instead, we are championing our theological causes and doctrinal distinctives. We are decrying all perceived falsehoods and castigating those who disagree with our pure positions. And much of this is done at the cost of kindness.
From time to time, I write posts that other Christians don’t appreciate. I also, until recently, had a daily talk radio program where I would occasionally, to frequently, annoy people with my opinions. In whatever setting, I’ve always tried to express my convictions or conclusions in a manner that respects those who disagree with me. Even so, I can clearly report that some of the meanest, most unkind emails or comments I’ve ever received have come from Christians who disagreed with my theological conclusions. By far, the angriest and downright cruelest responses I’ve received in both my written and spoken ministry, have come from Christians who don’t like my interpretation of Christianity.
Whenever I receive these hateful responses, I’m always a little bit amazed at the incongruity between their supposed righteous argument and their clearly unrighteous spirit. I can tell you, that although they may be quoting verses, they are definitely not quoting any that include the word kindness. Which makes me wonder: why would you think I would follow an opinion that is communicated in such a non-Christlike spirit. If I know you don’t love me and that you don’t believe I deserve any kindness, why would I want to follow your view of God and his kingdom?
Sadly, some believe standing for truth is more important than contending for kindness. I would argue that the validity of our truth is proven in our ability to communicate it with kindness. If I contend for the cause of Christ at the cost of kindness, I’ve already lost the battle and yes, that is a lot of alliteration.
Just a quick word to remind you that the Bible actually has a lot to say about character. It’s something we should consider before we try to win another theological battle. I know that I am personally in need of daily kindness. We can certainly disagree, but it would be nice if we were actually kind about it. And when I say kind, I mean biblical.