“But God, who is rich in mercy, out of the great love with which he loved us even when we were dead through our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the ages to come he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness towards us in Christ Jesus.”
If grace is the free gift of God that arrives on your doorstep, then kindness is what got it there. We can be saved and redeemed because of it. Kindness runs deep through the Gospels, the pages of Scripture and the heart of our God Himself.
God’s faithful, committed love is repeatedly translated as kindness in the Old Testament. It captures something of how God acts generously for those without with no expectation of reward. His kindness is revealed in His willingness to show mercy when there had been wrongdoing, and to rescue and save when His people were weak and in need. He is kind not because his people deserve it or earn it, but because kindness is part of God’s self. It is part of who He is.
It is no surprise, then, that we see this self-same kindness in Jesus. Yes, Jesus was not afraid to rebuke religious leaders and those in a position of power and respect, but with those who were weak, in need, poor and on the fringes of society, He demonstrated unfailing kindness and generosity, even when they interrupted Him, reached out and grabbed His cloak, showed initial mistrust or when they pressed at the door of wherever He was staying to get rest. He recognized they were sheep without a shepherd and did not hold back from meeting with them, showing them a kind and knowing word and healing what was broken in their lives. And, of course, His kindness is shown in His death. When we were weak, in need and unable to come near to God because of our sin, He did not refrain from giving up His own life.
I could list the names of many people who have shown me God’s kindness; people who have borne with me in my foolish ambition, knowing that underneath lay insecurity and pain; people who made time for me and encouraged me on when life’s burdens were heavy and hard; people who offered friendship, hospitality, a smile or an encouraging word where they could have easily thought themselves too busy or important.
How could you, today, offer a taste of the kindness of God to those around you, those who don’t deserve it, haven’t earned it and (perhaps) are easy to ignore? Where could you look at that which the world calls worthless or ugly and see the goodness and beauty that is waiting to be called forth? Pray that God might bear the fruit of His kindness in your heart and life today.