KINDNESS DEFINED: WHAT IT IS AND ISN’T
• Kindness is defined as the quality of being friendly, generous, and considerate.1
“Affection, gentleness, warmth, concern, and care are words that are associated with kindness. [Kindness is not that] someone is naive or weak. Being kind often requires courage and strength.”2
• Kindness is: chrēstos – (krey-staas) – useful; better; easy, good(-ness), gracious, kind. Properly, fit for use, useful, virtuous, good, pleasant.3
• Kindness is not: harsh, hard, sharp, bitter, burdensome, selfish.
• Kindness is: An ability to serve others practically in a way which makes me vulnerable, which comes from having a deep inner security.
• Kindness is not: Envious.
“[Kindness’] opposite is envy, which leaves me unable to rejoice in another’s joy. And its fake alternative is manipulative good deeds, doing good for others so I can congratulate myself and feel I am “good enough” for others or for God.”4
Kindness is not niceness.
• “Nice” is defined as “pleasing; agreeable; delightful”5 while “kind” is defined as “having, showing, or proceeding from benevolence.”6
“Five hundred years ago, when nice was first used in English, it meant “foolish or stupid.” This is not as surprising as it may seem, since it came through early French from the Latin nescius, meaning “ignorant.” By the 16th century, the sense of being “very particular” or “finicky” had developed. In the 19th century, nice came to mean “pleasant or agreeable” and then “respectable,” a sense quite unlike its original meaning.”7
WHY BE KIND?
Ephesians 4:32 (NIV) Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.
KINDNESS—NOT JUDGEMENT—LEADS US TO REPENTANCE.
Romans 2:4 (NASB) Or do you think lightly of the riches of His kindness and tolerance and patience, not knowing that the kindness of God leads you to repentance?
IN IT NOT EARN IT
Titus 3:3-7 (NIV) 3At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another. 4But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, 5he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, 6whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, 7so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life.
• God’s love and kindness is offered to us while we are in sin because of His mercy, not when we do righteous things and earn it.
KIND FOR YOUR OR FOR THEM?
Luke 6:35-36 (NLT) 35Love your enemies! Do good to them. Lend to them without expecting to be repaid. Then your reward from heaven will be very great, and you will truly be acting as children of the Most High, for he is kind to those who are unthankful and wicked. 36You must be compassionate, just as your Father is compassionate.
• Kindness is for the benefit of others not for yourself
BURDENSOME OR BENEFICIAL?
Matthew 11:28-30 (NLT) 28Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. 29Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.”
• Jesus offers others the way of kindness. What do you offer?
BEING KIND IS BEING TRUTHFUL IN LOVE.
Proverbs 27: 5-6 (NIV) 5Better is open rebuke than hidden love. 6Wounds from a friend can be trusted, but an enemy multiplies kisses.
• Kindness is not always agreeable, but it is loving.
QUESTIONS TO REFLECT AND DISCUSS:
Passages to consider: Romans 8:5-11
Icebreaker: What has been your experience with random acts of kindness?
Try it! This week, plan some intentional acts of kindness. Share your experience.
Passages to prepare for next week, Cultivate! Week 7, Goodness
This week, read Ephesians 5:1-20.
As you read, ask yourself these questions:
• What is the passage saying about God, mankind, and how the world works?
• What do I learn about myself from this passage?
• What response does this require of me in my thinking, believing, and doing?