And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you. – Eph 4:32 NKJV
“Love you guys!”, I heard someone exclaim as they left our small group meeting several years ago. I remember thinking at the time how loosely the word “love” is thrown around in our culture today. Most of the time, it is not referring to the type of agape, unconditional love Jesus modeled to us and expects us to give to our fellow Christians. I am very careful to not to throw out the words “I love you” to someone unless I’m willing to put actions to my words.
Love is patient. Love is kind. Loving another Christian is more than just hanging out and sharing good times, although that is part of the fun. How clever it was of God to tell us that love was patient before he got into the rest of His definition for love! He knew we would need to master patience first and foremost because the rest of love’s requirements imply an investment of time and energy on our part.
So what does it mean to be kind? According to Strong’s Concordance, being kind means to be useful and to furnish what is needed to those around us. I love involves kindness, true biblical love is definitely difficult in today’s fast-paced society. All of our lives are complicated and to complicate things even further, all of us are wired with different personalities.
These complications and differences combine to make kindness quite a challenge. It takes a long time to figure out how to be kind to another person because what they see as kind or useful may not be what we think of at all. Being kind takes a concentrated effort to see things from another person’s perspective rather than our own…to walk in their shoes.
In a nutshell, to be kind means a sacrifice of self to help someone else. It is more than just not being cruel. Kindness is usefulness and providing for someone else’s needs. What can you do today to be kind to someone in your life?
For further thought:
1) What keeps you from being kind?
2) What is your deepest need?
Janna Rust is a Professional Coach and Speaker dedicated to encouraging others towards lives God intends for them. For more information, visit her at www.purposefulpartnerships.com.