OUR MODEL OF KINDNESS by Bishop Dr. J. Akin Atere

TOPIC: OUR MODEL OF KINDNESS

Text: GALATIANS 6:10

“Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith.”

God is our model of kindness: Jesus vividly illustrates the kindness of God in His instruction on the Sermon on the Mount. (Matthew 5:43-48).

“Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust. For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same? And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so? Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.”

The Bible has many statements reminding its students of God’s unending and overflowing kindness to His creation. Jesus says in Matthew 7:11,

“if you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him!”

Paul and Barnabas tell the Lystrans (God) in bygone generations allowed all nations to walk in their own ways. Nevertheless He did not leave Himself without witness, in that he did good, gave us rain from heaven and fruitful seasons, filling our hearts with food and gladness. (Acts 14:16-17)

“Who in times past suffered all nations to walk in their own ways. Nevertheless he left not himself without witness, in that he did good, and gave us rain from heaven, and fruitful seasons, filling our hearts with food and gladness.”

God’s gracious gifts are gracious. They are unearned and unmerited by us who have willingly sinned against Him, desecrated His beautiful creation and either ignored or neglected His awesome purpose.

Despite the Israelites manifold sins after their rescue from Egypt, He continued to provide food, water and protection all the way into the Promised land. All the while He provided for them so abundantly that Israel became a very wealthy. But yet ungrateful, nation. (Psalm 78:37-39)

“For their heart was not right with him, neither were they steadfast in his covenant. But he, being full of compassion, forgave their iniquity, and destroyed them not: yea, many a time turned he his anger away, and did not stir up all his wrath.  For he remembered that they were but flesh; a wind that passeth away, and cometh not again.”

records this of Israel’s relationship with  God.

As John 3:16-17

“And his name through faith in his name hath made this man strong, whom ye see and know: yea, the faith which is by him hath given him this perfect soundness in the presence of you all.  And now, brethren, I wot that through ignorance ye did it, as did also your rulers.”

states: None of God’s beneficence in any way means he approves of the  conduct of sinful ,men, but rather it is a revelation of His nature that, despite men’s wickedness, he has benevolent feelings toward them. He earnestly desires their happiness and He is sincerely devoted to helping them make a success of life. The whole world lies in wickedness (1 John 5:19)

“And we know that we are of God, and the whole world lieth in wickedness.”

and mankind is unable to extricate itself from it.

David shows God’s kindness: Now David said, “Is there still anyone who is left of the house of Saul, that I may show him kindness for Jonathan’s sake?”

Jesus follows up His statement with another that touches on this area:

“Therefore I say to you, her sins, which are many, forgiven, for she loved. But to whom little is forgiven, the same loves little” (Luke 7:47).

Religion is not pure and undefiled unless it manifests itself in this qualify of kindly given service

“ Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.”(James 1:27).

Perhaps from this example, we can draw the conclusion that we have not shown our brother all the kindness we owe him unless we have shown him the “kindness of God.”

 Kindness and Mercy

We know that sometimes, doing an act of kindness is difficult in  itself, let alone doing it with a concerned, warm and  generous spirit. We must always remember, however, that our Lord and Saviour did it, He requires same of us if we are to be like Him. The choice is ours. In Galatians 6, Paul has in mind restoring an erring brother to the fellowship of the body, as well as the peace and unity of the whole. He writes in verses 9-10.

But God calls upon all of us to “strengthen the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees” (Hebrews 12:12)

“Wherefore lift up the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees”

We are to open our hearts wide in listening and generously give the benefit of knowledge, understanding, comfort, exhortation, inspiration, hope and encouragement from our experiences, especially those in the church. At the proper time, we can give correction in meekness, considering our won weaknesses. He commands us to open our hands wide to the poor, and He says it will be as though we are loaning the money to Him.

Kindness Returned

It is encouraging to note Jesus’ ringing promise in Matthew 5:7.

“Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.”

This parallels David writes in Psalm 41:1-3

“Blessed is he that considereth the poor: the LORD will deliver him in time of trouble. The LORD will preserve him, and keep him alive; and he shall be blessed upon the earth: and thou wilt not deliver him unto the will of his enemies. The LORD will strengthen him upon the bed of languishing: thou wilt make all his bed in his sickness.”

Blessed is he who considers the poor; the Lord will deliver him in time of trouble.

He who enabled us to be kind and generous to others in their need will respond by providing us a helper in our need. Jesus says in Luke 6:38

“Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.”

This is very wonderful motivation for those who believe God’s word, but perhaps there is even greater. Being merciful and kind is evidence that God has given us His spirit.

The Tender Mercies of God: before concluding, we need to look into God’s kindness as it pertains more directly to His spiritual purpose. The inspired words of Zacharias following the loosing of his tongue are rich and profound in meaning for us: (God sent John) to give knowledge of salvation to His people by the remission of their sins, through the tender mercy of our God, with which the  Day-spring from on high has visited us; to give light  to those who sit in darkness and the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace. (Luke 1:77-79)

“To give knowledge of salvation unto his people by the remission of their sins, through the tender mercy of our God; whereby the day-spring from on high hath visited us, to give light to them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.”

God has not merely pitied us from a distance, but He has entered into our life at our level. The Creator stooped from his high and pure abode as glorious God, and veiled His divinity for an abode of animated cay. He assumed our nature, was tempted in all things like us, took our sickness and bore our infirmities for the express purpose of being a merciful and faithful High Priest. He did not enter into our world and yet maintain a status superior to us. He truly walked in our shoes and still went about doing good. Christ, Paul adds in Galatians 1:4,

“gave Himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father.”

Who knows  how many individuals acts of kindness – from the conception of the plan to its fulfillment – are contained within this simple statement?

Paul urges us in Colossians 3:12-13

“Put on therefore, as elect of God, holy and beloved

This world has hardened us.. we have seen so much arrogance and cruelty that God warns that at the end “people will be without natural affection” 2 Timothy 3:3. We are at the end-time generation, and we must go a long way even to start to be like Christ in kindness. Kindness is something that we develop, and  we can do it because God has already enabled us by His Spirit. This fruit is especially sweet  tasting and a major factor in producing unity.