"Then the King will say to those on his right, 'Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me." Matthew 25:34-36
Kindness. It doesn't seem that hard. Love can be tough. Joy can be a struggle. Peace can be hard to find. Patience...well...doesn't come easy. But kindness just doesn't seem like it should be that difficult. Most of us would probably label ourselves as "kind". If we're nice enough to people and do good things for others on occasion, we're kind, right?
Kindness is defined: the quality of being warmhearted and considerate and humane and sympathetic.
We must remember, that we are not talking about these characteristics of the fruit of the Spirit in the way that the world sees them. The kindness talked about in Galatians 5 is not what the world labels as kindness. It is something different. Something supernatural. Something born of the Holy Spirit.
So how is the kindness characterized by a Spirit-led life different from that of the world? Look again at the passage from Matthew above. Jesus is talking about supernatural kindness. A compassion and sympathy for others. At one time or another we have probably provided food for someone who was hungry or offered a drink to someone who was thirsty. But what about inviting a stranger in? Clothing the naked? Tending to the sick? Visiting those in jail? Perhaps our kindness falls short of what it should if we are truly living by the Spirit.
Today I was driving down the road and saw an older man out riding a bicycle. He was wearing long pants and a long-sleeved shirt and it was about 85 degrees outside. I happened to be going to Sonic to get the girls and I something to drink. Typically, I drive past people like that, perhaps thinking sympathetic thoughts towards them, but never really doing anything. But today, God checked me. So I bought our drinks at Sonic and decided that if I drove back that way and saw him again I'd stop and offer him a drink. Fortunately, we were able to cross paths and I gave him my cherry-limeade. It wasn't much, but he was very appreciative.
As I drove away, God reminded me of the verse from Matthew and that what I did, though not necessarily a world-changing humanitarian deed, blessed Jesus as well. I have prayed and asked the Lord to make me more aware of opportunities to show kindness to others. Whether through material blessings or simply a kind word, I want to be available to be used by God. It may require sacrifice, but you never know what one drink offered in the name of Jesus could do for someone. Let's move past just being sorry for someone or sympathetic to the needs of others and let the kindness of our hearts motivate us to actually do something!
There may have been people that Jesus was addressing in that verse above that thought, "just because I didn't do anything doesn't mean I didn't care!" But doesn't it? If we really care, if we are really moved by someones need, won't we do something? True kindness gives way to acts of compassion. Not to mention, it opens the door to the Kingdom. So now...how are you doing with kindness?