A year or two before Fred Roger’s death someone in Philadelphia, where he lived, stole his car. The news media got a hold of the story and before long all the local TV stations were broadcasting the story. Thousands of Philadelphia citizens saw the story, including the thief who stole the car.
This criminal had dealt with his own share of difficult times, but he knew that when he was small Fred Rogers had been a positive influence on him. Fred Roger’s kindness prompted him to do something that he had probably never done before. He returned the car!
Now, I’m certainly not suggesting that Fred Roger’s brand of kindness is the only kind of kindness there is out there. You don’t have to put on a sweater and invite kids to play in your neighbourhood to be kind. But even when it’s that type of kindness, kindness has the power to touch the hearts of the most hardened people.
Kindness is an attitude which manifests itself in actions (or kind deeds). Kindness means that we care for the feelings of others and feel with them. Kindness shows caring and gets right into the situation with the person. Kindness suffers with those who suffer, struggles with those who struggle and works with those who work. Kindness is not just an attitude or emotion. Kindness is love in action.
6 things we learn about kindness from the Good Samaritan
An example of this type of kindness is found in the parable of the Good Samaritan. From the example of the Good Samaritan we learn six things about kindness.
1. Kindness will take action.
The Samaritan did not pass by or ignore the one in need. The Samaritan took action to do what he could to help meet the need. Kindness is love in action. Kindness is not an attitude we develop in our heart; it is not a new way of thinking about the situations we encounter. Kindness has to get out; kindness held in is not kindness at all. Kindness is love serving. To serve others requires action! Kindness will give; it will share. Kindness will provide for others; it supplies what is lacking or needed.
2. Kindness will take a risk.
The Samaritan did not stop to consider if the robbers were still lurking behind the rocks. Or what if it is all a trap and the Samaritan becomes the victim? The Samaritan was willing to put his possessions and even his life in jeopardy to offer kindness to the one who was in need. That’s what kindness does; it will take a risk.
We will never show kindness without taking a risk. The risk may be as big as the risk of your life or it may be as small as the risk of being rejected. Whatever the act, if we are showing kindness, it involves some risk and we need to be willing to take that risk. If we will take no risk we will show no kindness.
3. Kindness will pay the price.
The Good Samaritan didn’t examine the man’s wounds and then calculate the cost. The Samaritan was willing to pay the price and do whatever it took to help the man in need. Wine was poured on the wounds to purify and prevent infection; oil was added to comfort and soothe. The Samaritan paid for the man’s care at the inn; he paid the price!
The price was paid even without the guarantee that the man would recover from his wounds or even that the man would be thankful for his assistance! Jews hated Samaritans, but the Samaritan didn’t let this prejudice keep him from giving to meet a need. Kindness pays the price regardless of the outcome.
4. Kindness will put others first.
The Samaritan didn’t worry about his schedule for the day. He didn’t think about himself but he put the needs of the wounded man ahead of himself. Not only did the Samaritan give of his resources, but he also gave of his time.
5. Kindness will finish what it starts.
The Samaritan didn’t just bandage the man’s wounds. He didn’t just take the man to a safe place where he could receive more help. He even did more than pay for room and board the man would receive. He also promised to pay whatever else was needed to nurse the man back to health.
6. Kindness does not seek recognition.
What was the Good Samaritan’s name? Jesus doesn’t tell us. The Good Samaritan does not seek out the priest and the Levite to promote himself over them. The Samaritan is content to remain unknown. Likewise, our kindness is not to elevate our reputation, or make us look good in the eyes of other people. Real kindness does not seek to find glory for oneself; instead, kindness gives glory to God. Jesus said in Matthew 5:16,
“In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.”
Why should we show kindness to others?
There are at least three good reasons to show kindness to others.
1. Because it is the command of God.
Colossians 3:12 says:
“Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.”
Jesus commands us to love our neighbours. Love for others is not an emotion or a feeling, it is a choice. We choose to love others because God tells us to.
2. Because kindness is the character of God.
God tells us to show kindness to others because that is part of His wonderful character. He is full of loving kindness toward us. God has forgiven us not because we deserved it–He forgives us for Jesus’ sake. God didn’t just tell us He loves us, He proved it. Romans 5:8 says,
“But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
It’s not enough for us to say we love others; we must show it. We don’t perform acts of kindness to earn God’s mercy and forgiveness; We perform good deeds because we have been forgiven.
The world tends to give people what they deserve but God is full of grace and mercy. Grace is God blessing us with that which we do not deserve. Mercy is God withholding the punishment we do deserve. The more we understand and appreciate God’s grace and mercy, the more we will want to show kindness to others.
3. Because kindness is one of the most effective tools in reaching people with the good news that God loves them.
When we don’t demonstrate godly kindness in our lives, the result is that people are turned off to the gospel before they even hear God’s message. What was it that attracted sinners to Jesus? It was His loving kindness toward them that made them want to be around Him.
It’s the same for us today. We are not to separate love from kindness. If we love people as we are so frequently commanded to in scripture, we must treat them with kindness. To do less than that communicates that we don’t love them as we should. In fact, think about this for a moment. If we don’t treat people with kindness, most of them won’t even give the gospel a chance.
Fredrick William Faber said:
“Kindness has converted more sinners than zeal, eloquence, or learning.”
Most people will never be Bible scholars in the true sense of the word, but Bible knowledge alone doesn’t make a person effective in sharing their faith. As Faber pointed out, kindness earns a hearing for the gospel like nothing else can.
There is a great deal of talk these days about what the true God is really like. People think all the gods of all the religions are the same. We need to show them the God of the Bible is a God of love, a God of mercy, and a God of kindness. He is a God who loves people so much that He sent His One and only Son into this world to suffer and die in agony on the cross so our sins could be forgiven. That’s the kind of loving God we need to show this world.
What can you do today to show someone kindness?