Kindness Is a Virtue

by Jefferson David Tant

It is well known that several passages in God’s Word mention the virtue of kindness. One that is quite well known is Galatians 5:22-23: “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.”

There are also passages in the Old Testament where kindness is mentioned. “He has told you, O man, what is good; And what does the LORD require of you But to do justice, to love kindness, And to walk humbly with your God?” (Micah 6:8).

So, we understand that kindness is a characteristic of Christians. But to whom are we to show kindness? Obviously, we show kindness to our family in the flesh and our family in the Spirit. But others should also be the objects of our kindness.


For example, what about our enemies? Christ had a word about this, which we can read in Luke 6:35: "But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High; for He Himself is kind to ungrateful and evil men.

It is quite obvious that Christ set the example for us, as we remember some of his last words as He was dying on the cross: “But Jesus was saying, 'Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing.' And they cast lots, dividing up His garments among themselves” (Luke 23:34). Do you find it difficult to show kindness to those who have wronged you? Probably so. But we can have a forgiving spirit since God gave us the power to control our emotions.

Christ had more to say about this attitude toward enemies: “But I say to you who hear, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, … "If you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same …. "But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High; for He Himself is kind to ungrateful and evil men” (Luke 6:27, 33, 35).

Then the words of Christ in Mark 11:25-26: “Whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father who is in heaven will also forgive you your transgressions. But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father who is in heaven forgive your transgressions." Evidently, God is serious about the command to show kindness to our enemies.


Then, what about strangers? Note Paul’s words concerning widows: “A widow is to be put on the list only if she is not less than sixty years old, having been the wife of one man, having a reputation for good works; and if she has brought up children, if she has shown hospitality to strangers, if she has washed the saints' feet, if she has assisted those in distress, and if she has devoted herself to every good work” (I Timothy 5:9-10).

Then, the exhortation in Hebrews 13:2: “Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by this some have entertained angels without knowing it.” Do you remember who came to visit Lot? They were strangers, and he did not know they were angels, but he invited them in and cared for them. “Now the two angels came to Sodom in the evening as Lot was sitting in the gate of Sodom. When Lot saw them, he rose to meet them and bowed down with his face to the ground. And he said, "Now behold, my lords, please turn aside into your servant's house, and spend the night, and wash your feet; then you may rise early and go on your way." They said however, "No, but we shall spend the night in the square." Yet he urged them strongly, so they turned aside to him and entered his house; and he prepared a feast for them, and baked unleavened bread, and they ate” (Genesis 19:1-3).

John also had some words about strangers: “I have no greater joy than this, to hear of my children walking in the truth. Beloved, you are acting faithfully in whatever you accomplish for the brethren, and especially when they are strangers” (III John 1:4-5).

Have you ever been out in public, noticed a stranger in some difficulty, and offered to help? How about a woman struggling to load groceries from her shopping cart into her car? How about a blind man seeking to cross a busy street? How about a woman, or maybe an elderly man, stopped beside the road due to a flat tire?

When strangers visit the congregation where you attend, do you ever invite them to have dinner with you? My wife and I have been the recipients of such invitations, and it is good to be welcomed by brethren.


Is the congregation you are a member of known for its brotherly kindness? Sunday is a time when brethren are together and a good time to tell others, “Let’s have lunch together.” Such occasions help produce unity, which binds together a spiritual family.

Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; give preference to one another in honor” (Romans 12:10).

Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you” (Ephesians 4:32).


We could go on and on, but there is one more thing I would like to mention, and that is kindness to animals. I have known of those who have harshly abused animals, and I don’t think that’s what God wants us to do. How do you suppose Christ treated the young donkey that he rode into Jerusalem in what is called “The Triumphal Entry?"

"Jesus, finding a young donkey, sat on it; as it is written, 'Fear not, daughter of Zion; behold, your king is coming, seated on a donkey's colt.'" (John 12:14-15).

And, of course, through ancient times, the people of God depended upon animals for their labor, farm work, and transportation.

And finally, here is an act of kindness shown by a picture of an employee at a Dunkin’ Donuts shop giving a donut to a Racoon. A motorist was in the drive-thru lane and took a picture of what was happening before him. And I don’t think the raccoon was charged for the treat. So, kindness can take many forms.

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