Read 1 Corinthians 13:4-8a.
In my last entry we thought about the longsuffering love of God towards us. Our attention was drawn to longsuffering because it was the first attribute of love mentioned by Paul when describing godly love. Today we continue with the second attribute of godly love, “kindness.”
If someone asked me to define kindness, I would say simply that it means to be good to someone else. The attributes of love in 1 Corinthians 13, including kindness, are derived from God’s behavior towards us. God has been good to us (and continues to be), so we should be good to others.
God’s kindness to us reminds me that kindness is better demonstrated through actions than words. I sometimes joke with my students, saying, “I’m an astronaut.” No matter how many times I say it they don’t believe me. I wonder why? Is it because my actions don’t prove it?
Kindness is easiest to show when we are in close proximity to someone. I feel a tinge of excitement when I see a letter in the mail postmarked from St. Louis, Missouri, because it means a letter or card from my Grandma. But an envelope in the mailbox doesn’t compare to seeing her joyful face in person and getting enveloped in one of her big hugs.
What kindness God has shown to us! God has not just been kind to us in words, He has demonstrated His kindness towards us time and again. Each day we can think of a multitude of good things God has done for us. Of course, there is no greater demonstration than when He redeemed us from our dead, sinful state. And how did God accomplish our redemption? He came near to us, to be in close proximity to us, so His kindness and goodness could be clearly seen. And now He leaves His Comforter living in us — How much closer can you get! — as a reminder of His kindness and love towards us.
“Dear Lord, I thank you for how kind you have been to me. You have been so good to me again and again. Help me, in turn, to be kind to others by doing good to them through my actions and words.”