The Kindness of God and His People
Kindness is one attribute of God. The apostle Paul encouraged the church at Rome to consider both the kindness and severity of God (Rom 11:22). In Titus 3:4, the incarnation of Jesus Christ is identified as the kindness of God our Savior.
The Greek word is chrestotes. It has, “favorable usefulness,” at its root. It suggests the goodness of God, in His dealings with His beloved people. It is an understatement for us to consider the first advent of the Son of God, as anything less than useful and good.
The antonyms of kindness provide the foil for God’s tender care for His chosen ones. A short-lived, cutting-off is the contrast. Severity is sharp, and it serves to rebuke its object. Whereas, God’s kindness is a grace that mellows the whole nature of its recipients. Simply put, kindness is a gentle grace and severity is a swift judgment.
Paul wrote to the Ephesians and suggested there is more kindness to come, resulting from Christ Jesus and His grace (Eph 2:7). Peter adds to this imagery, illustrated as God’s newborn babes receiving kindness, like milk from one’s loving mother (1 Pet 2:2–3).
Just as Christians love because God loved us, first (1 Jn 4:19), so it is with kindness. Christians give and receive kindness (2 Cor 6:6). It is a brotherly kindness that makes up the attribute list of the child of God (2 Pet 1:7). Tabitha is one biblical example, being a female disciple at Joppa, rich in kind deeds and consistent charity (Acts 9:36).
Christians are kind, as a product of the Holy Spirit (Gal 5:22). The indwelling Spirit produces various spiritual fruit, of which kindness is one. It is this kindness, observed in God’s children, that helps the unregenerate elect to experience the grace of repentance (Rom 2:4). Seeing others in peril, or serious want, presents the setting for kindness, as when Paul’s shipwreck at Malta led to an extraordinary kindness by the natives (Acts 28:2).
Hospitality seems to be the best way to show, and for others to see, kindness. Abraham and Sarah received the Lord and His company on their mission trip to Sodom. Isaac’s servant suitor for Rebekah received kindness at Laban’s home, as did Moses in the house of Jethro. David had a place for His enemy’s grandson, Mephibosheth, at his dinner table, showing him mercy and kindness. Cornelius showed hospitality to Simon Peter, and salvation came to his house, even as it did to Zacchaeus’ home, on the day of the Lord’s visit.
In contrast, Haman feigned kindness with a dinner buffet, but he received severity when his unkindness was exposed. Judas Iscariot wrongfully took the bread from our Lord’s communion table, repaying Jesus Christ with unkindness.
Genuine kindness, especially in the gracious habit of hospitality, offers a two-way street for grace to flow. Christians are encouraged to set the table, even as our Good Shepherd prepares the table-lands, atop mountain plateaus, for His sheep to feast in the presence of their enemies (Ps 23).
Satan and his children are not gracious, nor kind, nor hospitable. Therefore, kindness, in the form of hospitality, is a wonderful way for Christians to show their love for one another. It is also an effective way to love one’s neighbor, outside the household of God. A man has to eat. A Christian man can eat and evangelize; eat and edify; eat as an act of service, even worship unto God. Our Lord is the kind giver of bread for food, and the bread of life, for the eternal satisfaction of His grateful people.
Got food? Got people? Get kindness and show hospitality, without partiality…even to angels unaware. May God bless your table, all the days of your life, granting you this grace, and His provision, for every good work…of kindness.
Spokane Valley, Washington
September 26, 2021