Love Kindness

He has told you, O man, what is good;
    and what does the Lord require of you
but to do justice, and to love kindness,
    and to walk humbly with your God?
Micah 6:8

I'm kind when I feel like it. Like when I'm meeting someone for the first time and want to make a good impression. Or when things are going well for me. And I'm in a good mood.

Is that kindness?

Merriam-Webster.Com describes kindness for kids as "the quality or state of being gentle and considerate." That quality is not in my nature. Naturally, I would be as tough and inconsiderate as I need to defend and promote myself. Naturally, I would act on my emotions.

But kindness is a choice. You have to be kind. Yes, some people just are kind. But most of us have to work at it.

And that honors God.

He doesn't want our emotions, our feelings to control us. Rather, He wants us to submit our emotions to Him so He can work through us. That is why He tells us to love kindness.

What does it mean to love kindness? Let's think about loving-kindness.

There is a Hebrew word the Bible uses to describe God's love toward His people, the Israelites, that is often translated into English with the terms "steadfast love" and "loving-kindness." The word is chesed, and it is a love based on a covenant relationship. God would show steady, long-suffering love toward the Israelites regardless of how their actions made Him feel (credit to an article by N.H. Snaith in Distinctive Ideas of the Old Testament). He does the same for us as His adopted sons and daughters.

Now, loving-kindness and loving kindness are different things, but they are related. The first is a character quality based on a relationship instead of emotions, and the second is the priority we place on a character quality.

We know we ought to be kind. Do we love kindness? Are we so concerned with showing gentleness and consideration for others that we do so whether we feel like it or not? Do we have that sort of relationship with kindness?

What if we had a really rough day and we just don't have the kind bug in us? Too bad! "Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body." (1 Cor. 6:19-20) That includes your hormones. Give your negative energy to God. Preaching to myself, people.

But what if the people we're interacting with are the same ones who gave us a rough day, or week, or year?

People hurt us. Friends talk behind our backs. Family members say the wrong things. Coworkers manipulate us. Culture says we should stand up for ourselves, show them what's up, which often means dishing out what we've been given.

We were made for more. We were not given new life and new names as children of God to fall into the same patterns of back-stabbing and cold-shouldering as the world around us. We were made to shine a light of hope that there is life even when it looks like the earth is parched.

When we do, when we offer kindness regardless of our emotions, we worship our God of loving-kindness. That is what is good.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Hello! I'm Faith. I'm a verbal processor who wants to love the Lord and love people with all my heart, soul, mind and strength. I write to think and think to write. I don't drink coffee. I am a dogless dog lover. I enjoy hosting large parties in my home, and I enjoy being alone. Join me in looking to Him and pursuing A Radiant Face.

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