Merriam-Webster defines kindness as the state of being kind, affectionate, loving, and of a sympathetic and helpful nature. When I think of kindness, I admit that it takes a little bit to come up with what I think of as being kind. Kindness, I think, is attributed to physical acts. You are being kind if you help someone shovel their driveway after a snowstorm, or being kind is helping an elderly person to their car at the grocery store. Kindness is also picking up a child walking to school on a 20 below day, or calling someone up and saying "I'm running to the store, can I pick anything up for you while I'm out?" One thing is clear. Kindness doesn't just happen. While there are people who have a naturally kind and giving nature, I tend to think that kindness is a learned art.
I have to admit, my husband is the perfect example of kindness sometimes. We are at the beginning of a snowstorm over the next couple of days, and my husband's first thoughts are to how many people he can help dig out of the snow. He's got a map in his head of all the people he can help in just a few hours. He also thinks of our elderly neighbor quite often. When we're outside and she's outside, he makes sure he goes over and chats with her to see how she's doing and if she needs anything. Most likely she just enjoys the company. There are several scriptures in the Bible detailing more about kindness. I'll list just a few of them.
"Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you." Ephesians 4:32
"Make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong, but always try to be kind to each other and to everyone else." 1 Thessalonians 5:15
"And the Lord's servant must not quarrel; instead, he must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful." 2 Timothy 2:24
"For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; 6and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; 7and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love." 2 Peter 1:5-7
As we can see in these verse, kindness also applies to turning the other cheek, and forgiveness. Kindness is a way we outwardly show our love for our fellow human beings. It's a way to let Christ's love show through us. The Acts 1:8 Ministry is a great example of sharing God's love with complete strangers through planned acts of Christian kindness. Even something as simple as holding the door for someone can be an act of kindness. I have to say, I love, love, love, the idea that simply being kind to someone can open a door that was never there before. Really. I mean, how many times do we ignore some of our neighbors, or the people we pass on the street. It really amazes me when we are out walking and people pass us without saying hi, or responding to our greeting. Yet, we always do say hi, usually with a smile. You never know when that smile and greeting is just going to brighten some one's day.
"But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!" Galations 5:22,23