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Kindness in the Bible: Deep love 4 Saved & Sinful

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Kindness in the Bible: Deep love 4 Saved & Sinful
The kindness the Bible calls us to is more than what bumper-stickers proclaim. It is purposeful and constant, selfless, and compassionate.

Kindness in the Bible: Deep love 4 Saved & Sinful

And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you. – St. Paul* in Ephesians 4:32

*means this person is included in my book SPIRITUAL LIVES

Kindness is not easy

Ephesians 4:32 has been our family verse since our children copied out their great-grandfather’s handwritten text pictured above.

It was hard for them to duplicate in cursive his elegant European hand, but that was easy in comparison to obeying it.

We are not by nature kind, and Paul tells the Ephesians the prerequisites for kindness in the preceding verse:

Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamor, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: Ephesians 4:31

In short, there’s a good deal of heart-cleaning work to be done before we can be kind, which is just a first step.

What is the definition of “kind?”


Definition of kind (Entry 2 of 2)

1a: of a sympathetic or helpful nature: was helped by a kind neighbor. They were very kind to us.

b: of a forbearing nature: Gentle kind treatment of animals

c: arising from or characterized by sympathy or forbearance: a kind or a kind smile

2: of a kind to give pleasure or relief: cooled by a kind breeze

Everyone is kind sometimes, but the kindness the Bible calls us to is more than the “random acts of kindness” bumper-stickers proclaim. It is purposeful and constant, selfless, and compassionate.

Jesus*(5 BC -c 28 AD) taught His disciples this:

Love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest: for he is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil. Luke 6:35

* indicates that person appears in my book SPIRITUAL LIVES.

Kindness is a divine attribute, a part of His love:

Love is patient and kind; 1 Corinthians 13:5

Kindness to the sinful

The first example of God’s kindness comes in Genesis 3, after the Fall and just before Adam* and Eve* are expelled from Eden:

And the LORD God made clothes out of animal skins for Adam and his wife, and he clothed them. Genesis 3:21

These two brought the evil of death into the world, and yet the Highest shows kindness to them.

The fallen pair must have been terrified, alone in the world, and expelled from the only home they knew by their Creator who

placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubim, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life. – Genesis 3:24

They were helpless and knew nothing about clothes, ignorantly covering themselves with fig leaves. But God knew they needed clothes and kindly provided them.

John Gill (1697-1771) gives an exposition on these God-given clothes: first, he addresses the practical:

which was an instance of goodness to them; not only to provide food for them as before, but also raiment; and which though not rich, fine, and soft, yet was substantial, and sufficient to protect them from all inclemency of the weather;

Next, he explains God’s kind desire to keep them from His wrath:

and they might serve as to put them in mind of their fall, so of their mortality by it, and of the condition sin had brought them into; being in themselves, and according to their deserts, like the beasts that perish:

as also they were emblems of the robe of Christ’s righteousness, and the garments of his salvation, to be wrought out by his obedience, sufferings, and death; with which being arrayed, they should not be found naked, nor be condemned, but be secured from wrath to come.

The Bible shows us that God’s kindness to them continued:

Imagine how distraught Adam and Eve must have been when their first-born son murdered his brother.

But God was kind to the sorrowing parents:

Adam and his wife had another son. She said, “God has given me a son to replace Abel,* whom Cain* killed.” Genesis 4:25

Kindness to the outcasts

When Abram*(1996-1821 BC) and Sarah*(1986-1859 BC) were unable to have children, they asked her servant to be a surrogate. She gave birth to Abram’s son Ishmael (1909-1772 BC) whom he loved with all his heart.

Thirteen years later when Sarah gave birth to Isaac*(1896-1716 BC), she drove Hagar and her 13-year-old son out of their household.

Hagar was a slave with no family and no place to go, so she wandered in the wilderness of Beersheba until she was out of food and water:

And the water was spent in the bottle, and she cast the child under one of the shrubs.

And she went, and sat her down over against him a good way off, as it were a bowshot: for she said, Let me not see the death of the child. And she sat over against him, and lift up her voice, and wept. – Genesis 21:15-16

It is hard for me to understand how Abraham, the friend of God, could be so hard-hearted, to let this son he loved and the woman who had given him to him die. It was indeed a heart-breaking situation:

And God heard the voice of the lad; and the angel of God called to Hagar out of heaven, and said unto her, What aileth thee, Hagar? fear not; for God hath heard the voice of the lad where he is.

Arise, lift up the lad, and hold him in thine hand; for I will make him a great nation.

And God opened her eyes, and she saw a well of water; and she went, and filled the bottle with water, and gave the lad drink. Genesis 17-19

This is divine kindness, praise God:

But thou, O Lord, art a God full of compassion, and gracious, longsuffering, and plenteous in mercy and truth. – Psalm 86:15

Kindness to widows

Elijah*(938? -896 BC) had to flee from queen Jezebel*(938? -884 BC) and took refuge with a poor widow who was down to her last handful of meal and cruse of oil. She was using them to prepare a cake for her son and herself when the prophet asked her to make one for him.

She was reluctant, but obeyed when Elijah said:

Fear not; go and do as thou hast said: but make me thereof a little cake first, and bring it unto me, and after make for thee and for thy son.

For thus saith the LORD God of Israel, The barrel of meal shall not waste, neither shall the cruse of oil fail, until the day that the LORD sendeth rain upon the earth. – 1 Kings 17:13-14

All this happened, and they lived many days when the child died. She was distraught: she cried out to Elijah, and he cried out to the LORD:

O LORD my God, I pray thee, let this child’s soul come into him again.

And the LORD heard the voice of Elijah, and the soul of the child came into him again, and he revived.

And Elijah took the child, and brought him down out of the chamber into the house, and delivered him unto his mother: and Elijah said, See, thy son liveth. -1 Kings 17:21-23

What a wonderful God! This widow was not an Israelite, but God was kind to her and hear her cries and Elijah’s too. Ours too:

The righteous cry, and the LORD heareth, and delivereth them out of all their troubles. – Psalm 34:17

Kindness to a wicked nation and a rebellious prophet

God called Jonah*(circa 760 BC) to preach to the wicked people of Nineveh. This was the capital city of the Assyrians, the powerful military enemy of Israel that eventually destroyed the northern kingdom and took the people of the ten tribes into captivity.

Jonah refused to go and took a ship in the opposite direction. When a fierce storm arose, Jonah was thrown overboard. But God was in this chaotic situation:

Now the LORD had prepared a great fish to swallow up Jonah. And Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights. – Jonah 1:17

This was a kindness already, but God was kinder still in causing the fish to vomit Jonah on the shore and call him again to preach to the heathen city. He did, with a simple message:

“In forty days Nineveh will be destroyed!”

The people of Nineveh believed God’s message. So they decided that everyone should fast, and all the people, from the greatest to the least, put on sackcloth to show that they had repented. – Jonah 3:4-5

When God saw their repentance, He withheld the judgment Jonah had preached. Jonah was not pleased but angry and prayed:

O LORD, was not this my saying, when I was yet in my country? Therefore I fled before unto Tarshish: for I knew that thou art a gracious God, and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repentest thee of the evil. Jonah 4:2

Jonah was right the LORD is of “great kindness,” and He testifies to this Himself as the book of Jonah ends:

“Should not I pity Nineveh, that great city, in which there are more than 120,000 persons who do not know their right hand from their left, and also much cattle?” Jonah 4:11

So, we have seen God’s kindness to the saved and sinful, the unthankful and the evil, and even to the animals.

All this pales in comparison to His greatest kindness, sending His son to save the world.

Kindness in the New Testament

Jesus explains God’s kindness to the world, saved and unsaved, unthankful and evil, everyone:

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.

For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. – John 3:16-17

That kindness and love flow through Jesus too, as He tells His disciples:

For this reason, the Father loves me, because I lay down my life that I may take it up again.

No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This charge I have received from my Father. — John 10:17-18

He speaks here in giving us the overview of God’s great plan of salvation and restoration established before the world began, but which we first looked at in Genesis.

Jesus’ ministry was driven by love, kindness, and compassion. As He traveled with His disciples, the Gospels use the words “moved with compassion” 14 times about Him, like this one from eyewitness Matthew:

But when he saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd. – Matthew 9:37

His compassion moved Him in these kind acts:

  • Feeding huge crowds of hungry people, first 5,000 then 4,000, and healing their sick

  • Turning water into wine so that His family and friends could make merry at a wedding in Cana.

  • Healing the blind: So, Jesus had compassion on them, and touched their eyes: and immediately their eyes received sight, and they followed him. – Matthew 20:34

  • Cleansing lepers: And Jesus, moved with compassion, put forth his hand, and touched him, and saith unto him, I will; be thou clean. Mark 1:41

  • Casting out demons: Howbeit Jesus suffered him not, but saith unto him, Go home to thy friends, and tell them how great things the Lord hath done for thee, and hath had compassion on thee. Mark 5:19

  • Acting on a parent's anguished pleas: And ofttimes it hath cast him into the fire, and into the waters, to destroy him: but if thou canst do anything, have compassion on us, and help us. – Mark 9:22

  • Raising a widow’s only son from the dead:

And when the Lord saw her, he had compassion on her, and said unto her, Weep not.

And he came and touched the bier: and they that bare him stood still. And he said, Young man, I say unto thee, Arise.

And he that was dead sat up, and began to speak. And he delivered him to his mother.

And there came a fear on all: and they glorified God, saying, That a great prophet is risen up among us; and, That God hath visited his people. – Luke 7:14

Kindness like this is divine. Jesus’ works of compassion and love drew multitudes to Him and are still drawing millions today.

2 steps to this kindness

The first step is following St. Paul’s advice to let go of bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, evil speaking, and malice. Easily said but difficult to do, unless….

we respond to step two:

Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me. – Jesus in Revelation 3:20

If we open that door today, He will come in and be with us. As we live with Him, we become like Him, praise God, and His kindness will soon be ours.

Jesus, strong and king

Jesus said that if I thirst

I should come to Him

No one else can satisfy

I should come to Him

Jesus said, if I am weak

I should come to Him

No one else can be my strength

I should come to Him

For the Lord is good and faithful

He will keep us day and night

We can always run to Jesus

Jesus, strong and kind

Jesus said that if I fear

I should come to Him

No one else can be my shield

I should come to Him

For the Lord is good and faithful

He will keep us day and night

We can always run to Jesus

Jesus, strong and kind

Jesus said, if I am lost

He will come to me

And He showed me on that cross

He will come to me

For the Lord is good and faithful

He will keep us day and night

We can always run to Jesus

Jesus, strong and kind

For the Lord is good and faithful

He will keep us day and night

We can always run to Jesus

Jesus, strong and kind

Jesus, strong and kind

Source: Musixmatch

Songwriters: Colin Buchanan / Michael Farren / Rich Thompson / Jonny Robinson

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