The Heart of Kindness
Kindness it is not a measure of the worthiness of its recipient. Instead, it shows the nature of the giver.
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. Ephesians 2:8-9 (NIV)
It’s a powerful tool for expressing the love of Jesus in a natural way to people we encounter in our daily lives. People ache to be loved, most of all by their Creator. We can choose every day to be the loving hands of Jesus to people, whether stranger or friend. Kindness is founded, not in randomness, but in obeying the precise prompting of the Holy Spirit in a circumstance. We all know that nudge we feel when we see someone struggling with their bags in the parking lot, or the frustrated sales person, or the homeless man, or the distraught co-worker. It’s the Holy Spirit giving us eyes to see an opportunity to be the kind hands of Jesus in that person’s difficult day.
Yet at times we find ourselves held back by an instant evaluation of the person’s worthiness to receive our help. Maybe it’s their appearance or demeanor, or maybe we’ve had past interactions with that person. Sometimes we may judge them, think they deserve the struggle they are in, or assume they would use our practical help for some purpose other than what we intended. But consider this: kindness is not a measure of the worthiness of the recipient. Instead, it shows the nature of the giver. Just as God’s grace towards us was a gift not based on our worthiness, our kindness to others is the same. Ephesians 2:8-9 says: “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.” We cannot boast that we deserve or have earned the love and grace of Jesus Christ. We know we have all fallen short and require a Savior for our sins. Therefore, who are we to judge the worthiness of another recipient? Our only responsibility in a situation is to heed the prompting of the Holy Spirit. When He says “help, encourage, bring flowers, give generously,” we obey and offer the kindness of Jesus to another.
Romans 2 begins by reminding believers not to judge others. Then it says: “God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance.” It was the love, patience and KINDNESS of God that led us to repent and accept Jesus as our Savior. In light of Jesus’s posture towards us, we offer kindness to others. Let us not allow considerations of another’s unworthiness to distract us from heeding the promptings of the Spirit. Instead, let’s show intentional acts of kindness towards those within our spheres of influence. We can expect the kindness of Jesus to lead others to repentance, just as it did for each of us!
Jesus, fill our minds with ideas and fill our days with opportunities to show Your kindness to others. Let us not ponder their worthiness, but only respond to the prompting of Your Spirit in blessing others. Let Your name be glorified as kindness touches people’s lives in our community. Amen.