On one hand, we know that acts of kindness are a blessing to both the receiver and the giver. Yet, there are times when we simply don’t feel kind. In these situations, we may force ourselves to be “nice,” but deep down, we know something is missing. We may wonder why we struggle with genuine kindness when it is one of the fruit of the Holy Spirit.
Can anyone relate?
There’s an old and often-used phrase that says, “Kill em’ with kindness.” Perhaps you’ve heard it and even used it yourself. This idea may seem noble on the surface, but actually, it stems from a rather negative connotation. It means to overwhelm someone with excessive kindness that they either don’t want or don’t need. In essence, it distorts the true intent of genuine kindness by turning it into a manipulative tool. Biblical kindness, on the other hand, is overwhelming in the best sense of the word. The Holy Spirit produces it in us despite how we feel.
It was Mother Teresa who once said, “Let there be kindness in your face, in your eyes, in your smile, in the warmth of your greeting. Don’t only give your care, but give your heart as well.”
Her words remind us that genuine kindness comes from the heart. It stems from a deeper place of sincerity and concern for others. I’m sure Mother Teresa didn’t always feel kind, but she learned to rely on the Holy Spirit to produce genuine kindness through her. What a beautiful example for us to follow!
If you’ve struggled to offer genuine kindness to others, here are several things to keep in mind.
The Greek word for kindness is chrēstotēs, which means "uprightness and tender concern." Fortunately for us, the Bible reminds us that our uprightness comes only through Jesus Christ, and not from ourselves.
"Being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus" (Romans 3:24).
The Holy Spirit works on softening our hearts, enabling us to display genuine kindness. It may not always be easy to surrender our emotions to the Lord, but when we recognize that kindness comes from Him and not ourselves, we can rely on Him to work through us no matter what the circumstance.
Job loss, illness, loss of a friend, financial struggles, and even relationships that go bad. All of us will experience trials, tribulations, and storms throughout our lives.
Niceness doesn’t equal kindness. Being nice is more of a surface gesture, whereas genuine kindness goes much deeper.
For example, most of us can be polite to the grocery store clerk, even when we are irritated by the long lines and crowded aisles.
Instead of forcing a smile and going through the motions, we can engage by asking, “How is your day going?” It’s often these small acts of kindness that make all the difference.
In the often-quoted “love” chapter of the Bible, we read that "love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil” (1 Corinthians 13:4-5).
These descriptions give us a clear picture of how God’s love fuels genuine kindness. It’s not about surface pleasantries or fake niceness, but rather a deeper connection that springs from the well of God’s love flowing through us. (Even in crowded grocery store aisles!)
Ephesians 2 has one of the most beautiful descriptions of God’s kindness towards us. It says, “that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus” (Ephesians 2:4-7).
From this passage, we see that God’s kindness is:
These verses will not only give you a better understanding, but they will also encourage you by reminding you of God’s immeasurable kindness towards you.
Genuine kindness shouldn’t be forced. Instead, it should be offered in love and in truth. There’s discernment that goes into being kind, a discernment that allows us to love others, yet remain steadfast in our faith.
For example, committed parents are kind to their children, raising them in a loving and nurturing environment. But they are also discerning when they need to be firm and discipline appropriately. By disciplining, they aren’t being unkind, they are simply following the Lord’s principles for child-rearing.
It’s not always about being nice. It’s more about showing genuine kindness while remaining true to God’s Word.
The good thing is, discernment is something the Holy Spirit can help us with. We need only stop and ask for His wisdom and guidance.
"If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given him" (James 1:5).
At the end of the day, we may not feel like being kind. Our human nature is a roller-coaster ride of feelings and emotions that don’t always align with the fruit of the Spirit. However, God’s kindness can flow through us no matter what the circumstance. And it's His genuine kindness that will go much deeper than our attempts at being nice.
One of the greatest invitations to prayer ever given to anyone was spoken to Jeremiah when he was in prison for preaching the truth. God said: “Call unto Me, and I will answer thee, and show thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not.” (Jeremiah 33:3) God mercifully spoke to him in his distress with both a command and an invitation.
My wife Joyce and I are so different. I thought I knew her well. After all, we met in the 4thgrade. But didn’t realize how different we were until we were on a Ferris wheel. For some reason, it stopped with our gondola at the top, and I thought it would be fun to rock it back and forth. I discovered we are very different!
So many people wake up in the morning, take a shower, scald their throat with a cup of coffee because they're running a little late, fight traffic, and get to work. Then, they come home, take a couple of aspirin, watch the evening news, perhaps discuss a few things with a roommate or spouse, maybe putter around the house or yard a little bit, then go to bed.