Treat people with kindness
Kindness is one of the most mentioned spiritual attributes in the Bible. The Hebrew word translated as “kindness” is חֶסֶד (chesed). It’s mentioned over 250 times in the Old Testament, and it’s so important that it’s frequently used as a major attribute of God the Father. In the book of Joel, God is described as being “slow to anger, and great in loving-kindness” (Joel 2:13). God’s heart towards us is that we would be so full of His kindness and love that we would spread that same kindness to those around us.
Kindness in the Bible shows up without conditions. In Luke 6:27-28 (NLT), Jesus gives His Sermon on the Mount, saying, “But to you who are willing to listen, I say, love your enemies! Do good to those who hate you. Bless those who curse you. Pray for those who hurt you.”
This is a hard concept to demonstrate when everything is going well, but it’s especially difficult when we’re hurting. As Jesus has shown us throughout His own life, we’re to display kindness to the people God loves—and that’s everyone. He was hurt, beaten, and rejected by mankind. He felt the sting of broken relationships, yet He still restored those around Him to wholeness.
Likewise, He sympathizes with our pain and understands that showing kindness is hard. He isn’t afraid of our brokenness. He knows that we might be holding onto bitterness, anger, and fear. Yet He knows that kindness changes hearts.
As Christians, we're called to have a spirit of kindness. Responding with kind words and actions might not always be our first response, but with God’s help, we can shift our mindset. He gives us grace so that Christian kindness can be extended to anyone we meet, including those who make our life hard.
We are called to be kind even when we don’t feel like it.
In Mark 6:30-34 (ESV), Jesus and His disciples had been working hard to share the Gospel with the people around them. They’d been working so hard they didn’t even have time to eat. So Jesus said to them, “Come away by yourselves to a desolate place and rest a while.”
However, “many saw them going and recognized them, and they ran there on foot from all the towns and got there ahead of them. When [Jesus] went ashore He saw a great crowd, and He had compassion for them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd. And He began to teach them many things.”
Jesus and the disciples were very tired. They were running on empty after pouring out their lives to others. Yet, when people who needed kindness showed up, Jesus didn't turn away. Instead, He acted compassionately and helped them. Obviously, we’re not Jesus, so there are times when we’re at the end of our rope and we simply cannot go on. God understands that.
But there are other times when we just don’t want to help. Choosing kindness isn’t always on our to-do list. We might not have any reason other than the inconvenient disruption it might cause, or the extra effort we’d have to give. In those times, following Jesus’ example means helping those in need. He will give us the strength to push forward and spread kindness.