Open Your Bible
Zechariah 7:9-12, 2 Samuel 4:4, 2 Samuel 9:1-11, Luke 6:34-36, Romans 2:1-11, 2 Corinthians 6:3-10, Titus 3:4-7
BY Abby Flynn
I grew up in the Midwest, but headed South after college in search of career opportunities and warmer weather. I eventually wound up in the Bible Belt, where I was swiftly initiated into the world of Southern charm. At first, I was shocked by how kind everyone was! But as the weeks and months in my new city went on, I realized not all of the “Bless your hearts,” were actual blessings. And most of the passing “We should get together sometime” farewells weren’t really future social invitations. It seemed that some Southern charm was actually just a cover-up for awkward situations. It was a way to seem like a nice person without ever actually having to do anything nice. Now granted, I still live in the South and have grown to love it. But I have to be watchful, even in my own life, of not mistaking being “nice” for genuine kindness.
In contrast, today’s reading reminds us of what real, Holy Spirit kindness looks like. And it’s about a whole lot more than just donating to charities and holding the door open for the person behind you. When we fully understand and begin to emulate real, Christ-like kindness, it will affect every aspect of our lives.
Titus 3 shows us that God’s love and kindness are not just genuine—they have a purpose: to lead us back to Him! (Titus 3:4–7). So when kindness is evident in our treatment of others, we, in turn, are pointing them toward God. Because “when the kindness of God our Savior and his love for mankind appeared, he saved us—not by works of righteousness that we had done, but according to his mercy—through the washing of regeneration and renewal by the Holy Spirit” (vv.4–5).
As followers of Jesus, we’re called to show graciousness and mercy to everyone, even our enemies. Yes, that even means the people we disagree with on Facebook, and the ones who have nothing to offer us in return (Luke 6:34–35). You see, kindness is at the heart of the gospel. We are all sinners and imperfect people who have been radically forgiven. There is nothing we could do to earn the love and mercy of the Lord, and yet He gives it to us freely. That’s kindness that we cannot begin to understand.
So as Christians, what does the Spirit producing kindness in us look like in everyday life? Maybe it’s the Lord making you a light in the world, offering hope to your coworkers or family. Or perhaps, it’s practicing graciousness in the middle of a difficult situation. Kindness might look like extending mercy to someone who has hurt you, whether they deserve it or not. Our kindness will play a huge part in our testimony, if only we will allow God to use it. But make no mistake, however kindness is exemplified in our lives, it is grown and cultivated by the Holy Spirit, a mark of His own kindness toward us.
Lord, open our eyes to see others as you see them: fellow image-bearers of our Creator. Make us instruments of your kindness and reflections of your mercy, even now.