About ten years ago, I did a deep exploration of kindness because I had decided I needed to be more kind to the world. I had been defending myself heavily for years and could have an unkind disposition. I made some changes and hopefully some people might have noticed.
Now I face 2021. Each year I have a Word of the year. I don't do resolutions, I just have a theme. One Word. Almost always, I don't have to search for one. God brings me one and he brought me Kindness...again. I could go into the reason why, but this year brings a new application for Kindness of which I am sure he wanted me to be cognizant. So, I went to my last study, still in my prayer book. That one is a page of "studying in color," which I often do, but I decided to transfer it into some logical order.
In the Old Testament, the word used exclusively is checed, which is often translated as lovingkindness with overtures of mercy, goodness, or pity.
In the New Testament, there are two words translated as kindness. One is philantropia - you recognize it - which means benevolence, love acted toward people. It is used only once or twice. The word most used for kindness is chrestotes, with an expanded meaning of moral goodness, integrity; gentleness. This makes kindness a character trait.
This is step one: focusing on God's kindness. I cannot do it God's way without a deep exploration of his example for us. So God's kindness is in his nature. It's qualities are as follows:
- it endures forever
- it preserves our lives
- it provides opportunity even when we are in bondage
- it binds us to God
- even in the midst of sin
- thus, God's kindness leads us to repentance.
Can we keep our own awareness of God's example of kindness? Can we develop kindness as a character trait for ourselves? We are to seek to stay in God's kindness. If you want to let kindness take a hold of you, stay in these truth's about God. You cannot give what you have not received. Let God's kindness develop in you. And be changed.