|Volume 23 Number 6 June 2021
Just for Today decide to be happy today, to live with what you have,
your family, your friends, your business, your job, your good fortune.
If you can’t have what you like, maybe you can like what you have.
Just for today be kind, cheerful, agreeable, responsive,
caring and understanding. Be your best, dress your best, talk softly,
and look for the bright side of things.
Praise people for what they do, and don’t criticize them for what they
cannot do. If someone does something stupid, forgive and forget.
After all, it’s just for today. When all is said and done,
it might just turn out to be a really nice day.
This is my wish for you.
There are many significant subjects in the Scriptures. We have the responsibility to study the Word of God and to understand each of them. It is certainly important to be right doctrinally and in our application of Scripture in our daily lives. We must oppose sin. We cannot ignore error. Yet, we must also understand the need for kindness in all our dealings. The Scriptures constantly declare the kindness of God, and they also record for us the necessity of being kind.
“What is desired in a man is kindness” (Proverbs 19:22). “And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you” (Ephesians 4:32). “Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up” (1 Corinthians 13:4). “Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do” (Colossians 3:12-13).
There are several words that are translated with some form of the word kindness. One literally means being useful to others. The idea is treating them in a way that benefits them. Another can be understood to mean family love. Another means brotherly love. They all call for the Christian to care about and treat his fellow men in a way that is going to encourage and build them up.
We can be right on an issue or doctrine but be wrong in our attitude as we deal with another person. We can be firmly correct in doctrinal matters and not be involved in a sinful lifestyle, but if we fail to be kind to others, we are failing. It is not a choice between these things, it must be all of them working together. We must stand for truth. We must live correctly, but we must also be kind to others. Kindness is an imperative that can be ignored easily if we are not careful.
Paul stated it clearly, in Romans 12:9-11, which reads, “Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good. Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another; not lagging in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord.” In the same context, he asserted that Christians are to abhor evil and to be kindly affectionate to one another. Interestingly, “kindly affectionate” is that word for family love. As brethren, we are to have that type of kindness for each other.
When Paul contrasted the works of the flesh and the fruit of the Spirit, he penned, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness” (Galatians 5:22). All of these are manifestations of our relationship with God through the Spirit-revealed Word of God. If we truly walk in the Spirit, we will exhibit these attributes in our lives, including kindness.
Peter added these words: “But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love. For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 1:5-8). Notice that these attributes must abound in us. Then we will not be “barren nor unfruitful.” The knowledge we may have of Jesus is not valuable unless we bear fruit in it. Kindness is one of those foundation stones that makes us more like Christ.
As you go about your daily life today, as you have cause to interact with others, stop for a moment before you act or speak and review whether your actions or words will be kind or unkind. Will you be building up the person with whom you interact, or will you tear him or her down? Will you snap at someone or treat him or her with kindness? The wise man stated, “A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold In settings of silver” (Proverbs 25:11). Let us strive to always make our words – words fitly spoken.
May our actions today be such as to build others up and to glorify God in all we do and say. May we join the Psalmist as he prayed, “Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart Be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord, my strength and my Redeemer” (Psalms 19:14).