Be nice

Be nice

You must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. – Colossians 3:12

2 Corinthians 6:6 We prove ourselves by our purity, our understanding, our patience, our kindness, by the Holy Spirit within us, and by our sincere love.

Proverbs 3:3 Never let loyalty and kindness leave you! Tie them around your neck as a reminder. Write them deep within your heart.

Acts 9:36 There was a believer in Joppa named Tabitha (which in Greek is Dorcas). She was always doing kind things for others and helping the poor.

Have you ever wondered whether someone can be too nice? A study, 8 Benefits of Being a Nice Person, shows you can almost never be too nice (psychologytoday.com, November 8, 2022). The quality of being “nice” translates in personality psychology into the trait of agreeableness. Agreeableness is “the personality trait primarily concerned with helping and building positive relationships with others” (Ones and Wilmot). Another term for agreeableness is “love.” Love never fails (1 Corinthians 13:8).

Agreeableness divides into three sub-facets of trust, compassion, and politeness. Compassion, in turn, divides into politeness and “tender-mindedness” (being gentle with others), and politeness divides into cooperativeness, straightforwardness, and modesty.

Agreeableness appears to have eight important benefits. Trying a little kindness can be good for your well-being, mainly if you use that kindness judiciously. Eight themes seem best to capture the qualities of agreeable people:

  • Self-transcendence: Motivation to care for others, and orientation to spiritual and religious practices.
  • Contentment: Acceptance of your life as it is and the ability to adjust to whatever life might throw at you.
  • Relational investment: Motivated to cultivate and maintain good relationships with others.
  • Teamworking: “Empathic capacity to coordinate goals with others.”
  • Work investment: Being willing to roll up your sleeves and get things done.
  • Lower results emphasis: A tendency to be lenient with others.
  • Social norm orientation: Avoid rule-breaking. Compliant with social expectations.
  • Social integration: Well integrated into society and avoiding antisocial behaviors.  (psychologytoday.com, November 8, 2022).

Upon reflection, this list describes an ideal friend or colleague.

The kindness of people reflects the heart of the Father. Because the Father has dealt with us according to His lovingkindness, he has freed us to follow after Him. Godly kindness is produced through the work of the Holy Spirit within. It is a fruit of the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:22).

2 Corinthians 6:6 We prove ourselves by our purity, our understanding, our patience, our kindness, by the Holy Spirit within us, and by our sincere love.

REFLECT & PRAY.

“God wants us to wear his spiritual garments. It will not do to let these garments hang in the closet of the Word of God. They will not do us any good there. We must wear them” (Richison).

Father I am a work in progress regarding kindness. Motivate and empower me to be kind and harmless as a dove. Encourage me to live out my new identity in          Christ.

INSIGHT

Colossians 3:12 You must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience.

The Greek word translated as kindness is chrestotes. Chrestotes is the quality of being warmhearted, considerate, humane, gentle, and sympathetic. Qualities of goodness, excellence, and uprightness are the outworking of chrestotes. It is equivalent to being “harmless as a dove.”

Chrestotes pervades one’s nature and disposition. Such a lifestyle is developed over time. Those who are kind have mellowed with age in a fashion similar to fine wine (Luke 5:39).

Proverbs 3:3 Never let loyalty and kindness leave you! Tie them around your neck as a reminder. Write them deep within your heart.

The Hebrew term translated as kindness is hesed. It is often translated as kindness, lovingkindness, reliability, faithfulness, mercy, and loyal love. The third phrase is literally “to walk humbly with your God.” It is not insisting on our own way but readily doing what the Father desires of us.

Hesed is one of the most beautiful and fascinating words used in the Old Testament to describe the Father. It is profound and multifaceted. The Father has many attractive characteristics, personality traits, and attributes. Perhaps one of the most delightful of all is His lovingkindness.

When we become children of the King, we are given a whole new way to live. We have put off our old way of life and put on a new way of life. “New character demands new characteristics” (Richison). Paul exhorts us to live out our new life in Christ. The logic is simple. “God expects us to approximate our daily condition to our heavenly condition. He wants us to live out the ideals and attitudes of our new nature” (Richison).

Kindness is a laid-back, mellow approach to life. Kindness does not react and become upset, offended, angry, bitter, implacable, hostile, or vindictive when treated in a hurtful or offensive manner. Kindness is “the art of being dear” (Lord Hailsham). Kindness is the manifestation of empathy, love, and compassion. Kindness is to be seen in both our demeanor and acts of kindness. Kindness is expressed through practical care and helpfulness. It manifests itself in a sweet disposition and thoughtful interpersonal dealings (Constable).

There was a believer in Joppa named Tabitha (which in Greek is Dorcas). She always did kind things for others and helped the poor (Acts 9:36).

The Lord Jesus Christ describes his yoke: “My yoke is easy [chrestos]” (Matthew 11:30). Kindness is listed in Galatians 5:22 as a fruit of the Spirit, and thus is a result of the work of the spirit in the life of the child of the King. It is a quality of the Father himself, for Romans 2:4 tells us that God’s “kindness” leads us to repentance. Kindness is an altogether lovely article of clothing.  

“One of the most beautiful pictures of kindness in the Bible is King David’s treatment of the crippled prince, Mephibosheth (see 2 Samuel 9). David’s desire was to show ‘the kindness of God’ to King Saul’s family because of his own love for Saul’s son, Jonathan. The young man chosen was Mephibosheth, Jonathan’s son, a poor cripple.”

“If David had acted according to justice, he would have condemned Mephibosheth, for the man belonged to a condemned family. But David acted on the basis of love and grace.”

“David sought Mephibosheth and assured him not to be afraid. He invited Mephibosheth to live in the palace as a member of his family and to eat at the king’s bountiful table. This is the kindness of God! You and I have experienced an even greater kindness, for as Christians, we are God’s children and shall live with Him in heaven forever!” (Wiersbe)

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© Dr. H 2022

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