Ephesians 4:32, "Be kind and have compassion to one another, forgiving each other just as in Christ God forgave you."
Today we want to talk about kindness. As Christians, why should we show kindness to others? There are at least two good reasons. First it is the command from God we just read this morning from Ephesians. Jesus tells us to love our neighbors. Love for others is not an emotion or a feeling, it is a choice. We choose to love others because God tells us to. And when we love, we become kind to one another.
Another reason to be kind to one another is because kindness is the character of God. The Lord is full of loving kindness toward us. God has forgiven us not because we deserved it– He forgives us because, He loves each one of so very much! God didn’t just tell us He loves us, He proved it. Romans 5:8 says, “God demonstrates his own love for us in this: while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” It’s not enough for us to say we love others; we must show it. That’s what this love is all about. We don’t perform acts of kindness to earn God’s mercy and forgiveness; we perform good deeds because we have been forgiven.
Today in our society when we show kindness to a stranger, they are surprised. Why? Because that’s not a normal behavior. Out in our world, it seems like every man for himself. It’s a dog-eat-dog world. It’s a hard-knock life. But for those of us who know Jesus, we live by a higher standard. We show kindness and compassion to others because we love Jesus. The world tends to give people what they deserve. But God is full of grace and mercy. Grace is God blessing us which we do not deserve. Mercy is God withholding the punishment we do deserve. The more we understand and appreciate God’s goodness and mercy, the more we will want to show kindness to others.
So kindness is it's rawest form is demonstrating it towards strangers who cannot repay us. Many of us show kindness to our friends and family–and we should. But one of the reasons we are kind to them is because we want them to be kind to us. It’s like giving Christmas gifts. Sometimes we give Christmas gifts to others because they give Christmas gifts to us. It’s called reciprocal giving. There’s nothing wrong with showing kindness to others because they are kind to you, but Jesus speaks of a much deeper kind of love that goes further than that. When He gave the command to “love your neighbor as yourself,” a man asked Him, “Who is my neighbor?” To answer that question, Jesus told the famous story we call the Good Samaritan. Kindness to even people we don’t see eye to eye with or kindness to complete stranger. It's called, "Unconditional Kindness".
You know there’s a secular movement in America called Random Acts of Kindness. Did you know there's even a Random Acts of Kindness week. That’s wonderful, we can never have too much kindness, but there needs to be purpose behind our acts of kindness. We need to make a statement when we perform our acts of kindness.
The whole point of kindness is to give glory and honor to Jesus Christ, and not to take any credit or honor ourselves. If we perform an act of kindness to someone and don’t make some kind of statement about why we did it, they are going to give us the credit. They are going to say something like, “You are a such a kind, loving person!” The point of our good deeds is to point people to the love of God, to allow Him to get the glory. Jesus said, “Let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.” (Matthew 5:16) People will see our good works, but how will they know to praise our Heavenly Father instead of praising us? We must let them know we have done this act in the name of Jesus and we are showing them God’s love. Our reward is not their response, our reward is in heaven. Jesus said, “Anyone who gives you a cup of water in my name will certainly not lose his reward.” (Mark 9:41). Now, if we simply perform an act of kindness with no explanation, we are doing it in our own name. But when we do it in Jesus’ name, it changes the entire equation. Now there are several ways we can give the glory to God when we do our kindness activities. We can simply say to the person, “I’m doing this in the name of Jesus, because He has shown His kindness to me.”
Everyone agrees that evangelism is the church’s main purpose. The word “evangelism” means “sharing the message of good news. By showing folks the love of God, we create an interest in them so that they want to know more about the God who moves us to act with kindness. Every act of kindness we do this week is like planting a seed–we just plant the seed, and God will make it grow. Sometimes our acts of kindness are the only Bible people will read. Matthew 25:40…."in as much as you have done this unto the least of these my brethren you have done it unto Me." Ephesians 4:32, So be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you."