One of the most basic Christian virtues is kindness. While it seems like this is an easy idea for us to grasp, it must not be because the Bible continually reminds the followers of Jesus to be kind (Colossians 3:12, 2 Timothy 2:24 & Ephesians 4:32). In fact, one of the fruit that will be seen in our lives as we live by the Spirit of God is kindness.
Kindness is defined as the quality of being friendly, generous, and considerate. It means saying a pleasant word instead of a harsh one. It means smiling when we want to get angry. It means doing a nice thing when we want to be mean.
One reason we need to be reminded to be kind is that we often limit our good behavior to a few people. Let me tell you of a few people to be kind too –
1. The strangers we meet. Throughout your day you are going to encounter people everywhere you turn. Our lives bump up against people at the gas station, coffee shop, store, restaurant, and school to name a few. How do you treat the people around you? It has been said that the way you treat your wait staff when eating out or the janitor at your place of business is the accurate measure of your kindness.
2. The people that we know. Sometimes we are very kind to people we do not know while having anger when dealing with the people at our work whom we encounter every day. When we know people and their story, we can feel we have the right to be rude or indignant. Often we feel free to pour out our negative emotions and attitudes over the people we know the best.
3. The people in our family. This can be your children, who continuously frustrate you after a long day. It can also be your spouse. Frequently we act well-behaved all day long only to unleash on the people we love without realizing the damage that it causes. Don’t treat strangers better than you treat the people you love.
Honestly, if you look at my list, that is everyone you meet. As a follower of Jesus, your kindness is not reserved for the short list of people you think deserve it. It is not something that happens when you want to make a good impression. Kindness is the default action of people who love Jesus. Today is a good day to be kind.