As I began to reflect on this 2nd characteristic, or checklist item, on how we are to love those God puts in our path, the memories of two ladies came to mind. Both of whom seemed to emanate kindness and love. These ladies both loved the Lord and also exibited the other aspects of loving in a godly way, but one of the most descriptive words I'd use for them is kind.
As I pondered over what the difference was in these ladies, and what kind love looks like, the concept of going out of one's way for others came to mind.
Kindness is going beyond what is expected to pour good into someone else's life. Click to Tweet
Kindness is choosing to sacrifice willingly and joyfully. Click to Tweet
Kindness is giving of yourself for another's benefit without begrudging the cost. Click to Tweet
Kindness is meeting someone where they are and valuing them for who they are. Click to Tweet
Kindness is loving someone as they are with no expectation of receiving anything in return. Click to Tweet
Kindness is calm.
Kindness is gentle.
Kindness is an overflow of knowing God intimately and receiving His lovingkindness through His abundant grace and mercy.
I think of one of these kind ladies confronting me about something she disagreed with. It was in such a gentle and respectful manner that it didn't even hint at harming our relationship.
I think of the other of these kind ladies, who made calls every week to anyone who missed a Sunday at church. Everyone in our small group class felt loved.
They embodied all of the definitions of kindness listed above.
How do we become more kind? Click to Tweet
I know for me, my level of kindness to others depends on several variables. Am I spending time in the Word? Am I feeding my brain with media (TV, radio, reading, etc.) that feeds my brain with unkindness and snarkiness, or the Truth and gentleness?
Am I taking care of my body? Am I getting enough sleep? Am I eating healthy so I feel better and have more to give? Am I exercising, moving my body as God created it to move?
Am I spending time in prayer? Am I fixing my eyes on Jesus? Am I intentionally keeping an eternal mindset? Am I praising the Lord?
These are a lot of questions to ask. To look at them all at once can certainly be overwhelming. However, we don't love more kindly by trying harder. Sure, we can have some success by grinning and bearing it or talking ourselves into being kinder. But true kindness, lovingkindness, is an overflow of a healthy relationship with the One who created us.
We will never consistently love more kindly simply by trying harder. Click to Tweet
Notice anything about the questions above? They naturally separate into 3 categories - mind, body and spirit. I would certainly say that they're not in order of importance. If there's a best place to start in seeking how to love others better, whether it be in the area of kindness or another quality of biblical love, seeking God and His kingdom is always a great place to begin.
However, if we neglect any one of these areas, we won't be as kind as we could be. God created us humans as a sort of trinity. We are fearfully and wonderfully made so that there is an intrisic connection between our mind, body, and spirit. Each one affects the others and works in cohesion with the others.
So, if you looked at the list and thought these characteristics of kind love are out of your realm, you're right. In and of ourselves, it is impossible to love other people - especially difficult people - with complete kindness. But don't stop with that thought!
He has poured out His perfect, everlasting, never-failing love on us. Because of His lovingkindness, we can love kindly. By seeking Him, seeking His strength, His joy, and His kindness. He will provide both the will and the ability for us to love with kindness.