Courage for life Blog

Understanding the Depths of Biblical Kindness

March 20, 2024

Have you encountered kindness lately? In the Bible, kindness is often associated with God’s nature but is also used to describe individuals who practice kindness as a virtue. You know when you have experienced kindness. There is something different about receiving genuine kindness motivated by someone else’s pure heart. They have no agenda. There are no strings attached or expectation of payback, and they have no advantage. They purely seek your well-being. This type of kindness makes you feel loved, seen, and heard simultaneously. It allows you to experience the very nature of God through another’s actions.

Biblical kindness goes beyond being considerate or acknowledging someone because biblical kindness focuses on the recipient experiencing God’s nature.

In the Old Testament, the Hebrew word “chesed” is translated using at least four different English words: mercy, kindness, lovingkindness, and goodness. This one word, “chesed,” does not encompass the totality of God’s nature but instead tries to convey the loving relationship God established with His people (i.e., how God approaches, treats, interacts, and responds to His people). God is all these things – merciful, kind, loving, good, and so much more! There is no wonder the English translators of the Bible had to use a variety of words in their attempts to express God’s nature toward His people.

If biblical kindness is associated with God’s nature and conveys God’s love and faithfulness toward His people, then followers of God are encouraged to demonstrate God’s nature through showing kindness toward others. This concept is found in the New Testament when the apostle Paul describes the fruit of the spirit.

But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things! Galatians 5:22-23

In Galatians 5, Paul argues that followers of God can either be guided by God, the Holy Spirit, or by their own sinful nature. If the Holy Spirit is guiding them, then the evidence is clear: God’s nature is shown through their actions toward others. They demonstrate love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control to allow others to experience who God is – His nature. These actions don’t happen naturally. God, the Holy Spirit, works through followers of God who submit themselves to His guidance. God’s nature is supernaturally expressed through genuine kindness motivated by someone else’s pure heart to please God and show His nature through seeking the well-being of another.

Paul concludes Galatians 5, stating that no one can regulate or “make laws” that create this type of kindness between one another. God is the motivator and enabler of this type of kindness because it is who God is, His very nature. If followers of God are “living by the Spirit,” let [them] follow the Spirit’s leading in every part of [their] lives,” [and] “let [them] not become conceited, or provoked one another, or be jealous of one another.” (Galatians 5:25-26)

Followers of God should not think that they have the capacity or motivation within themselves to exhibit God’s nature, but rather, God enables them supernaturally through their submission to the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

Paul ended his message by ensuring these followers of God did not think they were acting in this manner on their own or through their own strength, intellect, or ability. Therefore, Paul warns them not to become conceited, provoke one another, or be jealous of one another. Rather, they should acknowledge that God does supernatural work through them to demonstrate the fruit of the spirit.

Followers of God have a role to play – they should live guided by the Holy Spirit.

God responds to their willful submission to the Holy Spirit by empowering them with His supernatural help so that others experience the very nature of God through their actions.

Consider regularly challenging yourself to reflect on your actions and interactions with others. How evident is the fruit of the spirit (i.e., love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control) through your actions and interactions with others?

Would the people you interact with know that God, the Holy Spirit, guides your actions? Would the people you interact with experience God’s nature through your actions? How could you pursue living guided by the Holy Spirit to demonstrate God’s nature more often and more accurately through your actions?

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