Kindness

17 Sep

“And be ye kind on to another…”

I honestly have been torn apart by this command more than just about any other command. First of all, what is kindness? What is kindness not? Is kindness ever not required? What are the associated commands and how does that color our view?

Some may say that this is a silly internal debate, so I feel the need to clarify. Does kindness mean that you are always using soothing words or that you must always be nice to people? Does kindness mean that sometimes you need to tell someone the truth they don’t want to hear for their ultimate benefit?

This is where I have my first sharp disagreement with some. I do not believe you are being kind to someone who needs the proverbial kick in the butt and does not get it from you, because of your quest for not offending. And since Ephesians 4:32 links kindness to God’s forgiveness in Christ, I believe that we need to look to that for our guide. Christ did many things that others might not call kind. He criticized those who were “perfect” in their upholding the law (the Pharisees). He threw over tables when he saw others sinning.

Now, I don’t want to put our righteousness on a comparable scale with Christ’s, but we clearly are able to do things that are not politically correct and maintain the proper spirit. In fact, I would argue, that there are times it is UNKIND to be overtly “nice” to someone. For example, I know a person who is deficient enough that he is about to embarrass himself in a major way. If I do not warn him, I am not being kind.

Kindness is delivering the news in the least obtrusive way while continuing to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. Just as Proverbs 3:3 tells the necessary connection between truth and mercy, kindness without truth is worthless. Further, it is not the essence of the commandment. The call to be kind, merely refers to the delivery of the truth and our willingness to forgive those sins.

The kindest people are those who speak the truth to you in an effort to bring you into a restored relationship, and when it happens, they never speak of it again. Our kindness is in reference to our tenderheartedness. Further, it is the measure. The kind person is the one, who even when he is telling you the world’s worst news is genuine. He is not looking to condemn, but to reconcile. This, to me, is the picture of kindness. And when people tell me to be sugary sweet while delivering half truths, I believe it isn’t kindness, but rather cowardice that is being exemplified!

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One Response to “Kindness”

  1. Jenni April 28, 2013 at 10:25 pm #

    You packed a punch with your last sentence there! Also, I would rather be known for being kind than probably anything else. I hope I am becoming more that way.

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