I was once told by a guy who lied about stuff, manipulated others, was untrustworthy and had no control over his own family that I should be more compassionate and understanding of others! What does that mean? In reality my challenger wasn’t so much concerned about my heart of compassion as he was about playing church politics and the fact that I was not easily intimidated. But, what does it actually mean to be kind and considerate?
In these crazy days of anything goes philosophy, many people have forgotten what it means to be kind to one another. To Christians, who are called to become like Jesus Christ, the Bible teaches, “Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you” (Ephesians 4:31–32, ESV).
Paul tells us in the New Testament book of Ephesians to get rid of bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, slander, and malice. Bitterness is an inward frame of mind that refuses to forgive. Wrath and anger are combined here to refer to violent outbreaks of uncontrolled human rage. Clamor speaks of shouting and loud quarreling. Slander means evil speaking, and the Greek word translated “malice” implies wickedness, which is at the root of all the other sins listed here.
The followers of Jesus Christ are to exhibit kindness, tenderheartedness, and forgiveness toward each other. Compassion and kindness are closely related. Compassion can be defined as “heartfelt sympathy or empathy toward those who are suffering or in need.” Kindness is the helpful spirit that sees someone else in need and is motivated to respond through good deeds. Kindness is the tangible action that results from compassion. Kindness goes beyond mere words; it translates into helping and serving one another (Acts 28:2).
Kindness is one of the attributes of God (Titus 3:4) Being kind to one another means finding a way to forgive rather than blame (Matthew 5:7; Luke 6:36; 10:37; James 2:13). Perhaps the most stunning example of this is found in God’s supreme act of kindness that provided for our forgiveness and salvation when He sent His Son to die for us on a cross.
Have you had an opportunity to show kindness today? What did you do? Some people consider others as being unkind if they refuse to allow themselves to be abused by others. That’s not quite the same thing as being loving, open and responsive to the legitimate needs of others.
If God places us in a position to be able to assist others in their hours of dismay, sorrow and need WE should respond with the love of Christ.
What do you think?