uplifting thoughts and inspiration on faith
Biblical kindness is deeper than just a pleasant word or friendly smile. Biblical kindness has breadth and depth and digs deep to include mercy, favor, pity for those in misfortune, forgiveness and help for those in need, even and especially those who may not seem to deserve it. This is the loving-kindness of God. As Job points out, it is the afflicted man who needs the kindness of a loyal friend, not matter how low he is.
You cannot grasp the depth or scope of the kindness of the Lord unless you get a picture of the pain and suffering of those crying out for His mercy and help. Where better to find deep need and longing answered by merciful grace than the Psalms –
In You, O Lord, I put my trust; Let me never be ashamed;
Deliver me in Your righteousness.
Bow down Your ear to me, Deliver me speedily;
Be my rock of refuge, A fortress of defense to save me.
For You are my rock and my fortress;
Therefore, for Your name’s sake, lead me and guide me.
Pull me out of the net which they have secretly laid for me,
For You are my strength.
Into Your hand I commit my spirit; You have redeemed me,
O Lord God of truth. I have hated those who regard useless idols;
but I trust in the Lord.
I will be glad and rejoice in Your mercy,
For You have considered my trouble;
You have known my soul in adversities,
And have not shut me up into the hand of the enemy;
You have set my feet in a wide place.
Have mercy on me, O Lord, for I am in trouble;
My eye wastes away with grief, Yes, my soul and my body!
For my life is spent with grief, and my years with sighing;
My strength fails because of my iniquity, and my bones waste away.
I am a reproach among all my enemies, but especially among my neighbors,
And am repulsive to my acquaintances; those who see me outside flee
from me. I am forgotten like a dead man, out of mind; I am like a broken
vessel. For I hear the slander of many; fear is on every side;
While they take counsel together against me, they scheme to take away my life.
But as for me, I trust in You, O Lord;
I say, “You are my God.” My times are in Your hand;
Deliver me from the hand of my enemies,
and from those who persecute me.
Make Your face shine upon Your servant;
Save me for Your mercies’ sake.
Do not let me be ashamed, O Lord, for I have called upon You;
Let the wicked be ashamed; let them be silent in the grave.
Let the lying lips be put to silence, which speak insolent things
proudly and contemptuously against the righteous.
Oh, how great is Your goodness,
Which You have laid up for those who fear You,
Which You have prepared for those who trust in You
In the presence of the sons of men!
You shall hide them in the secret place of Your presence
from the plots of man; You shall keep them secretly in a pavilion
from the strife of tongues. Blessed be the Lord,
For He has shown me His marvelous kindness in a strong city!
For I said in my haste, “I am cut off from before Your eyes”;
Nevertheless You heard the voice of my supplications
when I cried out to You.
Oh, love the Lord, all you His saints!
For the Lord preserves the faithful,
and fully repays the proud person.
Be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart,
all you who hope in the Lord.
It takes a generous, benevolent, compassionate, gracious God to continue to show kindness to children who insult Him over and over. God worked miracles before the eyes of the Israelite children and even though they saw His might and power first hand they refused to trust God to care for them. It’s one thing to be gracious to grateful recipients of your time and efforts but to keep giving gifts to those who mock you? Doubt you? Insult you? Curse you? Who is motivated to do good to their accusers? Who is prompted to provide for grumbling, disrespectful nay-sayers?
God’s Kindness to Rebellious Israel
Give ear, O my people, to my law;
Incline your ears to the words of my mouth.
I will open my mouth in a parable; I will utter dark sayings of old,
Which we have heard and known, and our fathers have told us.
We will not hide them from their children,
Telling to the Generation to come the praises of the Lord,
And His strength and His wonderful works that He has done.
For He established a testimony in Jacob, and appointed a law in Israel,
Which He commanded our fathers, that they should make them known to their children;
That the Generation to come might know them, the children who would be born,
That they may arise and declare them to their children,
That they may set their hope in God, and not forget the works of God,
But keep His commandments; and may not be like their fathers,
A stubborn and rebellious Generation, A Generation that did not set its heart aright,
And whose spirit was not faithful to God.
The children of Ephraim, being armed and carrying bows,
Turned back in the day of battle.
They did not keep the covenant of God; they refused to walk in His law,
And forgot His works and His wonders that He had shown them.
Marvelous things He did in the sight of their fathers,
In the land of Egypt, in the field of Zoan.
He divided the sea and caused them to pass through;
And He made the waters stand up like a heap.
In the daytime also He led them with the cloud, and all the night with a light of fire.
He split the rocks in the wilderness, and gave them drink in abundance like the depths.
He also brought streams out of the rock, and caused waters to run down like rivers.
But they sinned even more against Him
by rebelling against the Most High in the wilderness.
And they tested God in their heart by asking for the food of their fancy.
Yes, they spoke against God: They said, “Can God prepare a table in the wilderness?
Behold, He struck the rock, so that the waters gushed out, and the streams overflowed.
Can He give bread also? Can He provide meat for His people?”
Therefore the Lord heard this and was furious; So a fire was kindled against Jacob,
And anger also came up against Israel, because they did not believe in God,
And did not trust in His salvation.
Yet He had commanded the clouds above, and opened the doors of heaven,
Had rained down manna on them to eat,
and given them of the bread of heaven.
Men ate angels’ food; He sent them food to the full.
He caused an east wind to blow in the heavens;
and by His power He brought in the south wind.
He also rained meat on them like the dust,
Feathered fowl like the sand of the seas;
And He let them fall in the midst of their camp, all around their dwellings.
So they ate and were well filled, for He gave them their own desire.
They were not deprived of their craving; but while their food was still in their mouths,
The wrath of God came against them, and slew the stoutest of them,
And struck down the choice men of Israel.
In spite of this they still sinned, and did not believe in His wondrous works.
Therefore their days He consumed in futility, and their years in fear.
When He slew them, then they sought Him;
and they returned and sought earnestly for God.
Then they remembered that God was their rock,
and the Most High God their Redeemer.
Nevertheless they flattered Him with their mouth,
and they lied to Him with their tongue;
For their heart was not steadfast with Him,
nor were they faithful in His covenant.
But He, being full of compassion, forgave their iniquity,
and did not destroy them.
Yes, many a time He turned His anger away, and did not stir up all His wrath;
For He remembered that they were but flesh,
A breath that passes away and does not come again.
How often they provoked Him in the wilderness, and grieved Him in the desert!
Yes, again and again they tempted God, and limited the Holy One of Israel.
They did not remember His power: The day when He redeemed them from the enemy,
When He worked His signs in Egypt, and His wonders in the field of Zoan;
Turned their rivers into blood, and their streams, that they could not drink.
He sent swarms of flies among them, which devoured them,
and frogs, which destroyed them.
He also gave their crops to the caterpillar, and their labor to the locust.
He destroyed their vines with hail, and their sycamore trees with frost.
He also gave up their cattle to the hail, and their flocks to fiery lightning.
He cast on them the fierceness of His anger, wrath, indignation, and trouble,
By sending angels of destruction among them.
He made a path for His anger; He did not spare their soul from death,
But gave their life over to the plague, and destroyed all the firstborn in Egypt,
The first of their strength in the tents of Ham.
But He made His own people go forth like sheep,
And guided them in the wilderness like a flock;
And He led them on safely, so that they did not fear;
But the sea overwhelmed their enemies. And He brought them to His holy border,
This mountain which His right hand had acquired.
He also drove out the nations before them, allotted them an inheritance by survey,
And made the tribes of Israel dwell in their tents.
Yet they tested and provoked the Most High God, and did not keep His testimonies,
But turned back and acted unfaithfully like their fathers;
They were turned aside like a deceitful bow.
For they provoked Him to anger with their high places,
And moved Him to jealousy with their carved images.
When God heard this, He was furious, and greatly abhorred Israel,
So that He forsook the tabernacle of Shiloh, the tent He had placed among men,
And delivered His strength into captivity, and His glory into the enemy’s hand.
He also gave His people over to the sword, and was furious with His inheritance.
The fire consumed their young men, and their maidens were not given in marriage.
Their priests fell by the sword, and their widows made no lamentation.
Then the Lord awoke as from sleep, like a mighty man who shouts because of wine.
And He beat back His enemies; He put them to a perpetual reproach.
Moreover He rejected the tent of Joseph, and did not choose the tribe of Ephraim,
But chose the tribe of Judah, Mount Zion which He loved.
And He built His sanctuary like the heights,
Like the earth which He has established forever.
He also chose David His servant, and took him from the sheepfolds;
From following the ewes that had young He brought him,
To shepherd Jacob His people, and Israel His inheritance.
So he shepherded them according to the integrity of his heart,
And guided them by the skilfulness of his hands.
Psalms 119:75-77 I know, O Lord, that Your judgments are right, and that in faithfulness You have afflicted me. Let, I pray, Your merciful kindness be for my comfort, according to Your word to Your servant. Let Your tender mercies come to me, that I may live; for Your law is my delight.
Jesus never asks us to do anything He didn’t do. Jesus never did anything that His Father didn’t do. Psalm 78 sets the stage for what Jesus proposes in Luke chapter 6 – love your enemies. Do good to those who hate you. Bless those who curse you. This is exactly the example God the Father set for Jesus the Son. Jesus spent His earthly life seeking His heavenly Father’s will and doing what He had seen His Father do. Jesus had every right to teach love your enemies because the Father had already set the precedent and example for us to follow.
John 5:19-21 Then Jesus answered and said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He sees the Father do; for whatever He does, the Son also does in like manner. For the Father loves the Son, and shows Him all things that He Himself does; and He will show Him greater works than these, that you may marvel. For as the Father raises the dead and gives life to them, even so the Son gives life to whom He will.
Love Your Enemies
“But I say to you who hear: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, and pray for those who spitefully use you. To him who strikes you on the one cheek, offer the other also. And from him who takes away your cloak, do not withhold your tunic either. Give to everyone who asks of you. And from him who takes away your goods do not ask them back. And just as you want men to do to you, you also do to them likewise.
“But if you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. And if you lend to those from whom you hope to receive back, what credit is that to you? For even sinners lend to sinners to receive as much back. But love your enemies, do good, and lend, hoping for nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High. For He is kind to the unthankful and evil. Therefore be merciful, just as your Father also is merciful.
Do Not Judge
“Judge not, and you shall not be judged. Condemn not, and you shall not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. Give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you.”
Romans 12 Living Sacrifices to God
I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.
Serve God with Spiritual Gifts
For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith. For as we have many members in one body, but all the members do not have the same function, so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another. Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, let us prophesy in proportion to our faith; or ministry, let us use it in our ministering; he who teaches, in teaching; he who exhorts, in exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness.
Behave Like a Christian
Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good. Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another; not lagging in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer; distributing to the needs of the saints, given to hospitality.
Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep. Be of the same mind toward one another. Do not set your mind on high things, but associate with the humble. Do not be wise in your own opinion.
Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men. If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men. Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord. Therefore
“If your enemy is hungry, feed him;
If he is thirsty, give him a drink;
For in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head.”
Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
1 Corinthians 13
Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing.
Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
Love never fails. But whether there are prophecies, they will fail; whether there are tongues, they will cease; whether there is knowledge, it will vanish away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part. But when that which is perfect has come, then that which is in part will be done away.
When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things. For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known.
And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.
2 Corinthians 6 Marks of the Ministry
We then, as workers together with Him also plead with you not to receive the grace of God in vain. For He says:
“In an acceptable time I have heard you,
And in the day of salvation I have helped you.”
Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.
We give no offense in anything, that our ministry may not be blamed. But in all things we commend ourselves as ministers of God: in much patience, in tribulations, in needs, in distresses, in stripes, in imprisonments, in tumults, in labors, in sleeplessness, in fastings; by purity, by knowledge, by long-suffering, by kindness, by the Holy Spirit, by sincere love, by the word of truth, by the power of God, by the armor of righteousness on the right hand and on the left, by honor and dishonor, by evil report and good report; as deceivers, and yet true; as unknown, and yet well known; as dying, and behold we live; as chastened, and yet not killed; as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing all things.
O Corinthians! We have spoken openly to you, our heart is wide open. You are not restricted by us, but you are restricted by your own affections. Now in return for the same (I speak as to children), you also be open.
Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness? And what accord has Christ with Belial? Or what part has a believer with an unbeliever? And what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For you are the temple of the living God. As God has said:
“I will dwell in them and walk among them. I will be their God, and they shall be My people.” Therefore “Come out from among them and be separate, says the Lord. Do not touch what is unclean, and I will receive you. I will be a Father to you, and you shall be My sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty.”
Ephesians 2 By Grace Through Faith
And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience, among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others.
But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.
Brought Near by His Blood
Therefore remember that you, once Gentiles in the flesh—who are called Uncircumcision by what is called the Circumcision made in the flesh by hands— that at that time you were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.
Christ Our Peace
For He Himself is our peace, who has made both one, and has broken down the middle wall of separation, having abolished in His flesh the enmity, that is, the law of commandments contained in ordinances, so as to create in Himself one new man from the two, thus making peace, and that He might reconcile them both to God in one body through the cross, thereby putting to death the enmity. And He came and preached peace to you who were afar off and to those who were near. For through Him we both have access by one Spirit to the Father.
Christ Our Cornerstone
Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone, in whom the whole building, being fitted together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord, in whom you also are being built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.
Colossians 3:12-13 Character of the New Man
Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, long-suffering; bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do.
Remind them to be subject to rulers and authorities, to obey, to be ready for every good work, to speak evil of no one, to be peaceable, gentle, showing all humility to all men. For we ourselves were also once foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving various lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful and hating one another. But when the kindness and the love of God our Savior toward man appeared, not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior, that having been justified by His grace we should become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.
This is a faithful saying, and these things I want you to affirm constantly, that those who have believed in God should be careful to maintain good works. These things are good and profitable to men.
But avoid foolish disputes, genealogies, contentions, and strivings about the law; for they are unprofitable and useless. Reject a divisive man after the first and second admonition, knowing that such a person is warped and sinning, being self-condemned.
2 Peter 1 Greeting the Faithful
Simon Peter, a bond-servant and apostle of Jesus Christ,
To those who have obtained like precious faith with us by the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ:
Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord, as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue, by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.
Fruitful Growth in the Faith
But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love. For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. For he who lacks these things is shortsighted, even to blindness, and has forgotten that he was cleansed from his old sins.
Therefore, brethren, be even more diligent to make your call and election sure, for if you do these things you will never stumble; for so an entrance will be supplied to you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Peter’s Approaching Death
For this reason I will not be negligent to remind you always of these things, though you know and are established in the present truth. Yes, I think it is right, as long as I am in this tent, to stir you up by reminding you, knowing that shortly I must put off my tent, just as our Lord Jesus Christ showed me. Moreover I will be careful to ensure that you always have a reminder of these things after my decease.
The Trustworthy Prophetic Word
For we did not follow cunningly devised fables when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of His majesty. For He received from God the Father honor and glory when such a voice came to Him from the Excellent Glory: “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” And we heard this voice which came from heaven when we were with Him on the holy mountain.
And so we have the prophetic word confirmed, which you do well to heed as a light that shines in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts; knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation, for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.
1 John 4:19 tells us we love God the Father, Christ the Son, and the Holy Spirit because we were first shown the example of this love by the Father. God set the precedent for loving the unlovely when He loved His creation in spite of our behavior. We are not admonished in the scriptures to love others because they first loved us but to love others because God first loved them. We don’t emulate what we see others doing. We don’t wait to see how others treat us before we decide how to treat them. We keep our eyes on the Father, our ears tuned to the promptings of the Holy Spirit, and we walk in the footsteps of Christ by emulating the Father.
Kindness is love in action. Kindness is putting your money where your mouth is. kindness is going out of your way. Kindness is being gentle when you want to be harsh. Kindness is being generous to the ungrateful. Kindness is doing what is right when everyone is treating you wrong. Kindness is sharing, caring, forgiving, overlooking, and rising above. Kindness is emulating God’s gracious, benevolent forgiveness.
Being kind is not as easy as it seems. It requires a determination to go against our inherent sense of justice. Our human nature tells us to get even, to “give a taste of their own medicine“, to show others “how it feels” to be mistreated. Very few people are born with a gentle, forgiving nature that comes naturally to them. For this reason we renew our minds daily as we pray:
Gracious Heavenly Father,
Thank You for Your love and forgiveness. Thank You for Your Holy Spirit to lead and to guide me through this day. Lord, please help me to keep my eyes on You and my ears attentive to Your voice. Help me to be still and know that You are God, the near God, not the far off God. You are the great physician, healer, master, savior, mighty God, lover of my soul, my guide, my high tower, and solid rock. I can depend on You to be Who You say You Are consistently no matter how many times I fail You. You continue to love me and forgive me and grow me into the person You would have me to be for Your glory and the building of Your kingdom. Lord, because of Who You Are, I trust You to help me today to walk the path You have for me. Open my eyes to see opportunities to be kind, to give, to share, to be gracious, generous, and forgiving. Father, help me to love others as You have loved me. Thank you for Your faithfulness to me. I look forward to what You have in mind for me today.
In Jesus’ name. Amen
True Kindness Is Love In Action
Kindness Is Mercy, Goodness and Favor
Grace, Favor, and Mercy of God Towards Men
Mercies and Benefits of God Because of His Loving-Kindness
A God Merciful and Gracious, Slow to Anger, and Abundant in Loving-Kindness
The Mercy and Steadfast Love of The Most High
The Earth is Full of the Loving-Kindness of the Lord
I Trust In and Confidently Rely On the Loving-Kindness and the Mercy of God
The Lord Does Not Turn Away My Prayer Nor His Mercy From Me
The Lord Is Good, His Mercy and Loving-Kindness Are Everlasting
The Lord Takes Pleasure in Those Who Hope in His Mercy and Loving-Kindness