What It Means To Be Kind

Showing kindness is a result of God's working in your life. Kindness is courtesy in action, being helpful. Kindness will make an impression on people.

Scripture: 2 Peter 1:4, Galatians 5:22-23, Ephesians 4


Alright. Thank you very much and hello again, radio friends. How in the world are you? Are you doing all right today? Well, I trust God that things are going well with you and if you’ve struck a rough day as I sometimes say, look up and say Lord Jesus see me through this one and he will because the Bible says “He hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.” So He is with you and He will see you through, believe me.

We’re looking, you and I, at the Galatians 5:22-23 as a commentary on 2 Peter 1. “All things that pertain unto life and godliness that by these, these promises ye might be partakers of the divine nature,” and I stopped on those two words, “divine nature” and began to wonder what that meant. And one of the best profiles then that I could find for these compressed times when we don’t have all that many minutes to spent but we want to get a big truth in, the best profile of the divine nature is found in what Paul calls the fruit of the Spirit. The result of the Holy Spirit indwelling the believer, God in you, Christ in You, “The hope of glory,” said Paul. “What know you not that your body is the temple of God,” said Paul.

See, that’s that secret to the Christian life, not something you do to be a Christian but something that God does to show that you’re a Christian after you received the Lord Jesus Christ by faith into your heart and life. Anyhow, the result of the control of the Holy Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance. These are the things that are the result of the Holy Spirit of God being in your life and that, therefore, will lead us to think that they are the characteristics that are most apt to be associated with deity itself.

Well then, we come to gentleness. We were talking about longsuffering before when we were together. Greek word, “makrothumia,” or large heartedness, making room in your heart for people just as they are and not as you wish they were. And then you come to this word “gentleness” and it has the idea of being benign and being kind, to be kind. Paul says “Be ye kind one to another, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.” Kindness is a result of God working in your life.

How far from that concept some of us are. I suppose that quite sincerely there are folk who feel that to be harshly judgmental and to be rigid in their attitudes toward other people is proof of their spirituality. I suppose as I say that they are perfectly sincere in this but in my opinion they’re perfectly wrong. You know Paul says in Ephesians 4, manifesting the truth in love, there’s a loving way and a kind way to say or to do anything that needs saying or doing. Kindness is one of the marks of God’s working in your life.

Do you want to think a little bit about where you could be a little kinder to people? For instance if you’re a boss, have you ever thought about saying “good morning” to folk as you come into the office? I don’t mean just a sort of a casual grunt “morning,” and go on into your office and shut the door. I mean look at them and smile at them and ask how they are. Have you ever thought about doing that?

Well, you say “Brother Cook, I run my business. Business is business.” Yeah, I know. But you’re a Christian, are you? And what you say and do is to show what Jesus is like. And one of the simplest ways to show some kindness is to notice people as you first come in to your office, or your shop, or your schoolroom, or your operating room, whatever it may be and smile and be kind to them. You try that out for size, would you? It’s a very good idea, kindness.

Kindness is a courtesy in action. To be kind to a person is to offer to help him or her in or out of a car, offer to help on with a coat or off with one, offer to carry a heavy bundle. People will remember you for years if you do some of these things without being asked. That’s a fact. The world is so full of people who are busy with their own matters and who have no time for you or me, that when someone actually puts effort into the business of being kind, it registers in people’s memory. I have people today who remember something that happened 20 years ago when just without thinking I picked up a suitcase and swung it up onto the front porch of the college when I saw people busy unloading. And later on they asked who that was, “Who was that man that helped us with our baggage?” Well, I didn’t think anything of it. Twenty years later, they all remind me of it. Bless their hearts.

Be kind to people. It doesn’t cost you anything except little time or effort but you have to think about it. Notice people, look at them, don’t just look down or look past them. And that itself takes an effort of heart and of emotion. To establish that eye contact that says, “I think you are something special.” They said of President Kennedy that when he was talking with you, he made you feel as though you were the only person in the whole wide world. Well, that’s a quite a gift, isn’t it? And yet, it’s not a matter only of having the gift of being charming. It turns out to be something that you and I can work on and we can notice people and we can call them by name.

I remember the surprise with which a young freshman looked at me and turned on his heel and came back to me and said “Why? You even called me by my name.” You know that is such a surprise. All right, kindness, kindness. Kindness is courtesy in action. Kindness is saying something good instead of something disparaging. You would be surprised even about the folk that you are critical of, you’ll be surprised of what you can think of that is praiseworthy if you put some thought into it. Kindness looks for something to comment not something to criticize.

Dale Carnegie said in his book so long ago on “Winning Friends and Influencing People” that if you are going to have to criticize, make it like the filling in a sandwich and on either side of it put some real praise and commendation. I could add to that, if you have to criticize anybody, do it in private but do your praising in public. I remember attending a class years ago where the man said, “Have you ever noticed that when you give someone a compliment, he steps back and you think he is trying to be modest?” He laughed and he said “Oh, no. He’s just stepping away so you’ll have to talk louder so other people will hear it.” Well, maybe so.

Kindness looks for something to comment not just for something to criticize. Kindness is able to shut its mouth and not to speak when that is indicated. And I’m not just talking about not interrupting now although that’s important. What I do mean is, there are some things about other folk that you don’t have to speak of. You don’t have to tell all you know. Has that ever occurred to you? You don’t have to tell all you know about somebody. Do you remember the old joke? “I wouldn’t say anything about her if it weren’t good, and boy, is this good.” Well, you don’t have to tell all you know.

Kindness often times closes its mouth and in the process avoids making a broken heart. Ah, yes. The good man said, Solomon, “Covers up the evil and doesn’t speak about it.” You might think about that as well when you’re — the next time when people are talking and they bring up the subject of Joe Q. Citizen, or whoever he may be and their sort of pulling him apart, either don’t say anything at all or else find something good to say. You would be surprised how that changes the atmosphere. Kindness knows when to shut its mouth.

Kindness looks for the opportunity to do something helpful. Now, don’t be officially helpful about this. “I’m going to help you my brother.” Oh, people will stay away from you by the thousands if you do that. Don’t make a federal case of it but you look for ways to be of help and then without being asked you do the thing that is needed, whatever that may be at that time. Kindness looks for ways to be of help and does something about it. We’ve all been the recipients of what I call a non-bankable, God bless you. People who wish you well but had knew nothing about it.

James has a passage about that in his book, doesn’t he? If a brother or sister be hungry or naked and you say “Well, God bless you. Be warmed and fed. What does it profit, my brothers?” he said. That doesn’t do the man any good. No, kindness looks for ways to do something about human need wherever you may find it. Of course, you and I can’t help the whole word. There are billions of people on this planet now and we can’t reach the whole world, but you can do something about the person you’re meeting this minute, do you see? You can do something about the people with whom you are in touch and those needs vary so much.

If you’re a school teacher there’s a student of yours that needs some encouragement so as to be brought out of his shell and made to believe that he could be something after all. If you’re a counselor, there’s something you could do to restore the shattered confidence that someone may have had or the broken heart. There are so many different ways of meeting people’s needs. If the person is out of work, you can help him look for work and there are so many things that one can do. Give some thought to that will you? Kindness.

One of the evidences that Jesus is living in my heart is whether or not I am kind to people. How easy it is to say something quick and cutting. Ask God to guide you in what you say and what you do so that it will always be kind, all right. Benign, kind, that is what the Bible calls gentleness.

Then there’s this other word “goodness.” We won’t get through talking about that while this broadcast last but we can start on it. It’s an interesting word. Greek word for good is Agathos and the Greek word for width is Sun, S-U-N, and you take those two concepts and put them together and you have goodness. You have Agathos and Sun, Agathosune which is “with goodness.” With goodness, what does that mean?

That means uprightness, that’s what Thayer’s Lexicon says, “uprightness mixed with kindness.” Uprightness mixed with kindness. You don’t have to compromise your convictions to be kind to people. You don’t have to lower yourself to the level of the person, let us say in the gutter, in order to help lift him or her up. Goodness in this thing, this passage here is “uprightness mixed with kindness,” Agathosune, with goodness. Something to think about, isn’t it? Keep your standards high, keep your heart tender.

Blessed Lord we worship Thee and we love Thee, and we pray that Thou will do more through us to prove that Jesus is real in our lives. I pray in His name. Amen.

Until I meet you once again by way of radio, walk with the King today and be a blessing!

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