Kindness is underrated. We equate it with being nice or pleasant, as though it’s mainly about smiling, getting along, and not ruffling feathers. It seems a rather mundane virtue. But the Bible presents a very different, and compelling, portrait of kindness.
Kindness Is Supernatural
When Paul laid out his case to the church in Corinth that he was a true apostle, he did so by detailing the trials he endured for the sake of the gospel, the inner spiritual life God granted him despite this suffering, and the God-produced spiritual fruit in his life (2 Corinthians 6:1–13). Surprisingly, kindness made his list of spiritual fruit. “You want proof I’m an apostle?” he said, in effect. “Okay, here it is: I’m kind.”
True kindness is Spirit-produced (Galatians 5:22). It’s a supernaturally generous orientation of our hearts toward other people, even when they don’t deserve it and don’t love us in return. God himself is kind in this way. His kindness is meant to lead people to repentance (Romans 2:4), which implies they haven’t yet turned to him, and are still his enemies.
We imitate God’s kindness, therefore, by loving our enemies. Jesus said, “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 is kind to the ungrateful and the evil” (Luke 6:35). Our kindness reflects the heart of our Father. “Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you” (Ephesians 4:32).