Tom Wheeler
Greenwood, Indiana

To say that "kindness" is a characteristic that is completely absent in mankind, would be an exaggeration. On the other hand to say that we are a kind, considerate and tender people would be generally false. Kindness is a quality that must be improved with knowledge and work. It is a good quality or characteristic that God requires of each of us and we appreciate in each other. It is a word that is closely associated with the word "mercy." God has dealt with the subject throughout both the Old and New Testaments.

God shows the mutual benefits to be received from acts of kindness in the following passages: "But the stranger that dwelleth with you shall be unto you as one born among you, and thou shalt love him as thyself; for ye were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God." (Lev. 19:34) "Thou shalt not see thy brother's ox or his sheep go astray, and hide thyself from them: thou shalt in any case bring them again unto thy brother. And if thy brother be not nigh unto thee, or if thou know him not, then thou shalt bring it unto thine own house, and it shall be with thee until thy brother seek after it, and thou shalt restore it to him again. In like manner shalt thou do with his ass; and so shalt thou do with his raiment; and with all lost things of thy brother's, which he hath lost, and thou hast found, shalt thou do likewise: thou mayest not hide thyself. Thou shalt not see thy brother's ass or his ox fall down by the way, and hide thyself from them: thou shalt surely help him to lift them up again." (Deut. 22:1-4)

The writers of Psalms and Proverbs dealt with the subject. "A good man sheweth favour, and lendeth: he will guide his affairs with discretion." (Psalms 112:5) "He that despiseth his neighbor sinneth: but he that hath mercy on the poor, happy is he." (Prov. 14:21) "The desire of a man is his kindness; and a poor man is better than a liar." (Prov. 19:22) "She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness." (Prov. 31:26) A strong admonition on the subject is found in Zech. 7:9-10. "Thus speaketh the Lord of hosts, saying, Execute true judgment, and shew mercy and compassion every man to his brother: And oppress not the widow, not the fatherless, the stranger, nor the poor; and let none of you imagine evil against his brother in your heart."

Everything that is mentioned in the judgment scene of Matt. 25 is an act of kindness. Love and faith could be said to be the motivating forces but the results are acts of kindness. "Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me. Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink? When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me" (Matt. 25:34-40).

Probably the most difficult lesson for us to learn is one of the plainest taught in the New Testament. "And if ye lend to them of whom ye hope to receive, what thank have ye? for sinners also lend to sinners, to receive as much again. But love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest: for he is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil. Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful." (Luke 6:34-36) If we are kind only to people who will be kind to us, what have we proved? Nearly anyone will do as much. What about those who give only to those from whom they receive? "I have shewed you all things, how that so labouring ye ought to support the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more blessed to give than to receive" (Acts 20:35).

Christ showed the very characteristic under consideration when he, the sinless one, gave his life for sinners. We are to forgive as he forgave. "And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you," (Eph. 4:32)

"Kindness" is to be added to our life. It is to mature as we mature. "Kindness" is not passive but active. "Kindness" can be proven by an (or many) action every day to both God and man. "And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity." (2 Pet. 1:7) "But whoso hath this world's good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of .God in him? My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth." (I John 3:17-18)

Truth Magazine, XVIII:17, pp. 5, 7
February 28, 1974