It is never too soon to be kind

It is never too soon to be kind

Do not let kindness and truth leave you; tie them around your neck as a reminder. Write them deep within your heart. – Proverbs 3:3

Proverbs 20:27-29

 27 The LORD’s light penetrates the human spirit, exposing every hidden motive.

 28 Unfailing love and faithfulness protect the king; his throne is made secure through love.

 29 The glory of the young is their strength; the gray hair of experience is the splendor of the old.

Proverbs 20:28 Loyalty and truth preserve the king, and he upholds his throne by righteousness.

Psalms 85:10 Lovingkindness and truth have met together; Righteousness and peace have kissed each other.

Wise sages throughout the ages from various cultures have spoken of the value of kindness.

“Those who make compassion an essential part of their lives, find the joy of life. Kindness deepens the spirit and produces rewards that cannot be completely explained in words. It is an experience more powerful than words. To become acquainted with kindness one must be prepared to learn new things and feel new feelings. Kindness is more than a philosophy of the mind. It is a philosophy of the spirit” (Robert J. Furey).

“I have learned silence from the talkative, toleration from the intolerant, and kindness from the unkind; yet, strange, I am ungrateful to those teachers” (Khalil Gibran).

“That best portion of a man’s life, his little, nameless, unremembered acts of kindness and love” (William Wordsworth).

“Kindness in words creates confidence. Kindness in thinking creates profoundness. Kindness in giving creates love” (Lao Tzu).

“You cannot do a kindness too soon, for you never know how soon it will be too late” (Ralph Waldo Emerson).

“Our culture is obsessed with external beauty, but as hard as we may try to improve our outward appearance, we all eventually experience the effects of aging. Far more important is inner character, which lasts into eternity. And one of the most attractive inward qualities is kindness” (Stanley).

“People characterized by kindness are considerate, loving, tenderhearted, helpful, and gentle. Those on the other end of the spectrum are quick-tempered, bitter, crude, and demanding. Basically, the difference has to do with whether one’s focus is on self or others” (Stanley).

REFLECT & PRAY

“If your religion doesn’t help you, it is no religion for you; you had better be without it” (Rutherford).

Father I am embarrassed to realize so late in my life the importance of being kind. I never made the connection between Your lovingkindness and loyal love and my own lack thereof. Teach me and empower me to be kind.

INSIGHT

The wise counsel of the Father is far different than many human fathers. Human fathers have a tendency to say, “Do this because I say so.” Our heavenly Father says, “do this because it will help you.” The Father is trying to guide us, counsel us, and urges to do what is right and in our own best eternal interest. Following Him will bring us into wholeness and peace (Proverbs 3:2).

Proverbs 3:3 exhorts us to diligently work on our inner character. We are to maintain love and faithfulness. It focuses on “inner integrity that manifests itself in all interactions with God and people” (Garrett). We must allow the Holy Spirit to write the Word of God on our hearts (Proverbs 7:3) (Wiersbe).

Kindness and truth describe the very essence of the Father Himself. When He appeared to Moses, Moses was allowed to see His back. As He passed by, He spoke, “The LORD! The God of compassion and mercy! I am slow to anger and filled with kindness and truth” (Exodus 34:6).

The Hebrew word translated as kindness is hesed. Hesed could well be translated loyal love, lovingkindness, mercy, or simply kindness. Hesed has “three basic meanings which always interact: ‘strength,’ ‘steadfastness,’ and ‘love’” (Vine, Unger). It has to do with loyal love consistently acted out in relationships.

The Hebrew word translated as truth is emet. The basic root idea is firmness, surety, or certainty (TWOT). Emet connotes faithfulness and dependability. Truthful words are trustworthy. A truthful person can be counted on to do what they have committed to do. They can be trusted to do what is right.

“Authentic kindness does not depend on how others treat us, nor is it a manipulation to get what we want. Kindness is a selfless quality that always considers what’s best for others whether they deserve it or not” (Stanley).

Kindness is more than simple acts of kindness now and then. It is a continual attitude of the heart which manifests itself in kindness acts of kindness.

How do we become kind?

The answer is simple, but the execution is difficult. We are to turn away from depending upon ourselves and walking in our flesh. We are to cultivate a way of life where we walk in the Spirit.

Walking in the Spirit involves moment-by-moment awareness of and sensitivity to the direction and guidance of the Holy Spirit. When we depend upon the Spirit, our lives are characterized by sensitivity to His leading and direction.

We are able to rise above our sinful passions and self-centeredness, the deeds of the flesh (Galatians 5:19-21). As we walk in the Spirit, the fruit of our relationship with Him is affirmed and revealed.

Galatians 5:16 So I say, let the Holy Spirit guide your lives. Then you won’t be doing what your sinful nature craves.

Galatians 5:22-23

  22 But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,

 23 gentleness, and self-control.

Kindness and goodness are closely connected words. For kindness, the word is chrestotes. It, too, is commonly translated as goodness. The Rheims version of 2 Corinthians 6:6 translates it as sweetness. It is a lovely word. . . Old wine is called chrestos, mellow. Christ’s yoke is called chrestos(Matthew 11:30), that is, it does not cause discomfort or irritation. The whole idea of the word is a goodness which is kind” (Barclay).

As a child of the King, we can make it our personal goal to be kind, good, and sweet.

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