“Or do you think lightly of the riches of His (God’s) kindness and tolerance and patience, not knowing that the kindness of God leads you to repentance?” (Romans 2:4)

“Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.” (Ephesians 4:32)

“So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience; bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you.” (Colossians 3:12, 13)

“The Lord’s bond-servant must not be quarrelsome, but be kind to all, able to teach, patient when wronged, with gentleness correcting those who are in opposition, if perhaps God may grant them repentance leading to the knowledge of the truth, and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, having been held captive by him to do his will.” (2 Timothy 2:24-26)

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.” (Galatians 5:22-24)

“Now for this very reason also, applying all diligence, in your faith supply moral excellence, and in your moral excellence, knowledge, and in your knowledge, self-control, and in your self-control, perseverance, and in your perseverance, godliness, and in your godliness, brotherly kindness, and in your brotherly kindness, love. For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they render you neither useless nor unfruitful in the true knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (2 Peter 1:5-8)

The New Testament includes so much emphasis on the spiritual importance of kindness, it is overwhelming. Kindness (1) is a characteristic of God (Romans 2:4); (2) a characteristic of Christian love (1 Corinthians 13:4); (3) a characteristic of a servant (2 Timothy 2:24); in the Spirit’s fruit (Galatians 5:22); a part of the Christian graces (2 Peter 1:7); and a part of Christian behavior (Ephesians 4:32; Colossians 3:12, 13). Many in the first century were not kind prior to conversion. Jesus Christ taught them to be kind after conversion. Their kindness toward people and each other made them distinctive.

The American Restoration movement began as a unity movement crying, “Not the only Christians, but Christians only.” In time, it confronted those not in the movement. In more time, it confronted those in the movement. In still more time, it decided faith should be affirmed by attacking baptized believers. It declared that unity should be preserved by division.

In this migration, kindness was abandoned, rarely taught, and regarded by some to be a spiritual weakness rather than a godly strength. Why do Christians abandon gossip, hypocrisy, mean spirits, judgmental attitudes, hurtful motives, etc.? If we say because of commands, something is lacking. What is lacking? The Holy Manner of kindness. Kindness is not what others show us, but what we show others.

David Chadwell
West-Ark Church of Christ, Fort Smith, AR
Bulletin Article, 31 May 2007

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