March 18, 2013 – Kindness

“Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with feelings of compassion and with kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.  Bear with one another; if anyone has a complaint against someone else, forgive him. Indeed, just as the Lord has forgiven you, so you must forgive” (Colossians 3:11-13).

Wildflower

Today I am thinking about the word kindness.  The truth is that I am not always kind to people.  Because of my own selfish desires, I fall short of bringing glory to God.  And for me, bringing glory to God is the bottom line point of my life – to testify to the world of God’s kindness.  Falling short with unkindness always makes me feel sad because I don’t want to be a weed in a sea of grass.

Kindness is defined as an act of being kind; marked by good and charitable behavior, pleasant disposition, and concern for others.  It is considered a virtue.

I am not one who reads the Talmud or even really knows all that these oral, now written writings hold, but in doing just a little research on kindness, I found that the Talmud claims that ‘deeds of kindness are equal in weight to all the commandments.’  This is a powerful statement because the commandments are part of the ‘law’ or Torah – the teachings and instructions of God.  How can a person say,  ‘I follow Torah’ or ‘I love God’s commandments’  if the ‘law of kindness’ doesn’t flow from their lips (Prov. 31:26)?

As a believer and follower of the Messiah Yeshua, I am commanded to uphold the Spirit of the ‘law‘ because I am a new creation in Messiah.   The ‘old letter of the law’ kills because it has to do with a stony, hard, selfish sinful  heart.  It not only kills me, but everyone else to whom I am unkind; those  required to live up to ‘laws’ I create apart from the Spirit.  There is a cliché “kill them with kindness.”  It surely is better than killing someone with unkindness!   Yet, it is only through the Spirit of God that a new heart of flesh can bring forth life through kindness from the ‘written code’.

“For when we were in the realm of the flesh, the sinful passions aroused by the law were at work in us, so that we bore fruit for death.  But now, by dying to what once bound us, we have been released from the law so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit, and not in the old way of the written code” (Romans 7:5-7).

Kindness is one of the fruits of the Spirit.  I had a Bible teacher say that the first three fruits: love, joy, peace are our relationship with the Father.  The last three fruits: faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control are our relationship with ourselves.  Forbearance (patience), kindness, and goodness, the middle three fruits, should exemplify our relationship with others – both our brothers and sisters in Messiah as well as those in the world.  It is by our FRUIT that people know that we serve Messiah,  not by our stringent rules and regulations.  Also according to Galatians, there is ‘no law’ or command against being kind.  The Spiritual fruit of kindness should be a believer’s ‘law’ of life.

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law” (Galatians 5:22-23).

Kindness isn’t just being nice.  Anyone can be nice to please, flatter, or manipulate another person.  Kindness is something deeper; it is rooted in the  Hebrew word, chesed  which means loving kindness.   Yahweh’s loving kindness brought  salvation to the world through His Son, Yeshua  (John 3:16). His loving kindness covered a multitude of sins (1 Peter 4:8) as should ours.   Loving kindness should come from a genuine desire of caring for another person and wanting to support them no matter what or how we feel.  Loving kindness should come from a peaceful and joyful relationship with our Father, a faithful, gentle and self-controlled relationship with ourselves,  that freely flows to another person whether the situation in our life is pleasant, blahhh, or full of strife.

The loving kindness of God through us will bring healing to the wounds from a friend or a broken relationship. The loving kindness of God through us will bring life to a dying heart or suffering soul.  As a vessel of God, His loving kindness through us resolves issues of sin or misunderstanding between two people.  Loving kindness on our tongues is a testimony to His loving kindness to someone who may be listening from afar or close by.

Loving kindness is the proof of  God’s Spirit  living in the hearts of His  ‘set apart people’  – you and me.  Loving kindness is the evidence that we, has His children, understand, accept and exemplify His mercy, grace, and forgiveness with and for others.   Loving kindness IS that beautiful wildflower in a sea of grass that stands out and brings life to the world around it.

“And now I entrust you to the care of the Lord and to the message of his loving kindness, for it can build you up and give you an inheritance among all those who have been set apart for God” (Acts 20:32).

©2013 Tent Stake Ministries

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