Think of someone with whom you love to spend your time. A certain warmth emanates from their core, inviting you to rest and be yourself, doesn't it? That soothing radiance has a name: kindness. In this message, Dr. Stanley teaches about the irresistible nature of tenderheartedness, both how God demonstrates such a quality toward us and how we should imitate Him in our earthly relationships. Lean into His unfailing kindness and watch how it multiplies in your own life, testifying to everyone around you of the goodness of God.
Also this week: Putting Prayer First
This sermon was recorded before COVID-19. For the protection of our staff members and the community, we are currently following safety guidelines by practicing social distancing. We appreciate your understanding.
The Attractive Quality of Kindness
KEY PASSAGE: Ephesians 4:31-32
SUPPORTING SCRIPTURES: Proverbs 3:3 | Proverbs 19:22 | Ezekiel 18:20 | Zechariah 7:9 | Mark 10:51 | Romans 2:4 | Galatians 5:22-23 | Galatians 6:7 | Colossians 3:12 | Titus 3:4-6 | Hebrews 13:5 | 1 Peter 2:3
Do you think you are a kind person? Would those who are closest to you agree with your assessment?
Kindness is a virtue that stands out in a world of harshness and selfishness. It’s an attractive quality, evident not only on our faces but especially in our words and actions. More importantly, kindness is an attribute that should characterize every believer because it’s a reflection of Christ in us.
Kindness is mentioned in Galatians 5:22-23 as part of the fruit God’s Spirit produces within us: “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self control.” It’s closely associated with the traits of goodness and gentleness, all of which are aspects of each other. If one is kind, he or she will also be good and gentle.
Although kindness is produced by the Spirit within us, it’s also an attribute that we are expected to cultivate because it is commanded in God’s Word.
- Ephesians 4:32 “Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.”
- Colossians 3:12 “So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.”
Kindness is the outflow of the indwelling Holy Spirit onto those around us. It isn’t merely being polite in public but should be especially evident in our closest relationships at home and in the workplace. It’s expressed in friendliness, generosity, patience, thoughtfulness, and a calm, warmhearted disposition.
Although kindness isn’t very important in our society, it’s a very Christlike characteristic that should be apparent in every believer’s life. It begins with thoughtfulness because our minds are set on others, not on ourselves. We are sensitive to the needs of those around us and ready to offer help with our words or actions.
Christ is the perfect depiction of kindness. When He heard a poor, blind beggar named Bartimaeus calling out to Him, He didn’t consider him a nuisance but stopped and asked, “What do you want Me to do for you?” (Mark 10:51). Then with mercy and compassion, He restored Bartimaeus’ sight just as he requested.
As followers of Jesus, we, too, should be characterized by kindness. And because the Holy Spirit is working to produce this fruit within us, we have the capacity to be kind in every situation, even when others are unkind to us. However, this doesn’t mean that we become pushovers or easy targets for attack. As Christians, we should never ignore wrongdoing but should express ourselves in a Christlike manner, not striking at the person but at their actions.
God shows kindness to all mankind.
His supreme act of kindness is seen in His provision of salvation to sinful people.
- Titus 3:4-6 “But when the kindness of God our Savior and His love for mankind appeared, He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out upon us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior.”
Although the Lord has the right to strike sinners down at any moment, He is patient, and His kindness is meant to draw them to repentance.
- Romans 2:4 “Or do you think lightly of the riches of His kindness and tolerance and patience, not knowing that the kindness of God leads you to repentance?”
The only reason any of us are saved is because God’s kindness led us to repentance and provided the means for our salvation through faith in His Son. Having experienced His grace, we are now able to show kindness to those who mistreat us. Sometimes the best response to those who revile us is not self-defense but peaceful kindness. This is not a sign of weakness; it’s a sign of strength. Kindness conquers by disarming the attacker and ending the fight.
Expressions of God’s Kindness
- He pardons us from our sin. There is nothing we can do to gain redemption on our own.
- He provides for our needs. Having saved us, He now meets our emotional, physical, and material needs.
- In times of danger, He often protects us. We’ve all experienced occasions when God has rescued us from danger, yet we are unaware of all the times He has intervened to protect us.
- Every answered prayer is an act of kindness on God’s part. It’s only due to His grace, because none of us could say that we are worthy of receiving answers to our requests.
- He gives us the gift of eternal life. When God reached down to save us, He not only forgave us our sins, but gave us eternal life that can never be lost. He holds and keeps us until our last breath and then takes us home to heaven to live with Him forever.
- God keeps every promise He makes. Just as He keeps His promise to give us eternal life, so also He will be faithful to discipline us as a loving Father if we disobey Him. Both are acts of kindness toward us.
- He is personally involved in our lives. The Lord not only saved us, but He sent His Spirit to live within us. He always deals with us kindly whether through love, gentleness, truth, instruction, or discipline.
- We have the promise of His presence with us. God gives no conditions that would limit His willingness to abide with us. Hebrews 13:5 says, “For He Himself has said, ‘I will never desert you, nor will I ever forsake you.’” Scripture reminds us that our lives should be a reflection of God’s kindness.
- Proverbs 19:22 “What is desirable in a man is his kindness.” What God values stands in contrast with what the world considers masculine.
- Proverbs 3:3 “Do not let kindness and truth leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart.” Kindness begins in the mind and heart.
- Zechariah 7:9 “Thus has the LORD of hosts said, ‘Dispense true justice and practice kindness and compassion each to his brother.’” Kindness is not left in the heart but must be practiced, especially in the home.
- 1 Peter 2:3 “If you have tasted the kindness of the Lord.” After experiencing God’s grace and goodness, we should make it a part of our lives as well.
- It’s easy to overlook the Lord’s kindness expressed to us each day. This week make an effort to see all the ways God demonstrates kindness to you in both large and small ways.
- Are your interactions with your family kind? Why is the home often the most difficult place to practice kindness? What would your home look like if everyone was kind to one another?