Kindness is Being Reliable - "Useful," "Manageable," "Integrity"
In Luke 6:35, the Lord is described as being "kind" to the wicked based upon his example of the "Golden Rule" (Luke 6:31-36). If that is the case, and it is, we can see His reliability through this. We can know that He is going to keep His promises, regardless of what we or anyone else does. Isn't that what the passage is indicating that the Highest does? Now, this has to be taken with common sense (because if we do not we will start to claim a contradiction), but the Lord gives to us without expecting much in return. His coming to the earth (John 1:14) was for the salvation of mankind (John 1:29) was, in a sense, regardless of what others were going to do for Him. While He demands our obedience to Him based upon His sacrifice (1 John 4:19, John 14:15), He did so knowing that mankind couldn't do anything for Him (Ephesians 2:8-9, Matthew 20:28).
How does that equate to being reliable? Let's answer that with a series of questions. 1) Can my brethren count on me to help with the work of the church, even if I get little to nothing in return? 2) Can my neighbors count on my help in their times of need (whether it is physical, spiritual or emotional need), knowing that I'm not going to hold it over there head with the proverbial "You owe me one" mindset? These answers, if answered truthfully, will tell us whether or not we are being kind to those around us as the Lord is to those seeking Him and His salvation. But, what are some ways in which we can see these answers played out in our lives?
- Attendance - Can my church rely on me to be there for assemblies?
- Giving - Can my church rely on me to carry out the command to give as I have been prospered? (cf. 1 Corinthians 16:1-2)
- Fellowship - Can my church rely on me to spend time with them, get to know them and help them when they are in need? (Mrs. Jones, a widow, is having to move next weekend and she could really use some help with carrying those boxes...)
- Evangelism - Can my church rely on me to bring visitors or take a stack of the new evangelism tract/card to pass out?
- Punctuality - Can my church/neighbors rely on me to be where I say I'm going to be at the times I say I'm going to be there?
Kindness is Being Reasonable - "Benignity," "Mild," "Gentleness," "Pleasant"
Paul, the apostle which is often characterized by a rough way of teaching people (i.e. sarcasm) was also mild, benign and gentle in his teachings (2 Corinthians 6:1-6). How can these two thoughts be reconciled? He was balanced! There is a fine line between standing for the truth and never wavering and being mean about it. Paul is never said to have attacked the person or to have been malignant toward those to whom he spoke, but at the same time he was going to speak the Truth and never back down from an opportunity to speak that Truth. We have to be very careful, because the moment our mindset turns from teaching to "getting them told", we have lost our kindness!
What a better illustration of this point than Colossians 3:12-13! When someone does us wrong and we go to them (per the command in Matthew 18), regardless at what step they repent, do we treat them differently and fail to actually forgive? "Well he didn't ask for forgiveness until the whole church knew about it! He's probably just trying to save face!" Who cares! He repented and that's all we have to worry about. Anything else is something far removed from kindness.
Kindness is Being Respectable - "Moral Excellence" Peter stated it perfectly, and used the same Greek word under discussion today, when he said that the Christian does not have ungodly practices in his life (i.e. malice, deceit, hypocrisy, envy, evil speaking, not desiring the Word of God) because he has "tasted," figuratively of course, that the Lord is kind/gracious. If we are to be children of God and act in like manner (cf. Luke 6:31-36) we are going to have the same moral excellence that our Father has!
But, that excellence, unlike God's, can be lost. Because we have the ability to allow the outside world to influence our kindness/moral excellence by way of its "evil communications, KJV" (1 Corinthians 15:33). Would you be surprised to realize that the word "good" therein is actually the same word from which we get "kindness"? Therefore, when one applies the Word of God to his life and has the character of a Christian (Fruit of the Spirit, Galatians 5:22-23) he is going to be a morally excellent person, one to whom people can look for a role model. We never know who is watching us and imitating us, so shouldn't we be kind people? That way we can save ourselves and those that see us (cf. 1 Corinthians 11:1)?