The Kindness of God
In our American culture today many people look at Jesus as a nice person but see God the Father to be a mean, cruel, and vindictive God. They do not realize that to get the clearest picture of the Father one must look at Jesus. As we look at the life of Jesus we come to understand that God is a patient and benevolent Father who is rich in kindness.
I love what Mother Teresa said, “Spread love everywhere you go: First of all in your own house… let no one ever come to you without leaving better and happier. Be the living expression of God’s kindness; kindness in your face, kindness in your eyes, kindness in your smile.”
As we look into the Bible we can see from various passages of scripture that God is kind.
Romans 2:4 “Or do you think lightly of the riches of His kindness and tolerance and patience, not knowing that the kindness of God leads you to repentance?” (emphasis mine)
Ephesians 2:5-7 “But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, 5 even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ ( by grace you have been saved), 6 and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 so that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.” (emphasis mine)
2 Peter 2:1-3 “Therefore, putting aside all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander, 2 like newborn babies, long for the pure milk of the word, so that by it you may grow in respect to salvation, 3 if you have tasted the kindness of the Lord.” (emphasis mine)
Luke 6:35 “But 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 Himself is kind to ungrateful and evil men.” (emphasis mine)
The passage in Luke 6 ought to set our minds at rest concerning the kindness of our Father. He is even kind to ungrateful and evil men.
It is His kindness that leads us to repentance. Without His kindness working in our lives we would never come to a place of repentance. That’s why I believe hell-fire and damnation preaching really doesn’t reach people. Oh, it will put fear in them, but God’s love casts out fear. Salvation isn’t about not going to hell…..it’s about getting to have a relationship with our heavenly Father. The Good News is not that I don’t have to go to hell. The Good News is that God is kind and He wants to have a relationship with me. It’s much easier to reach people’s heart with kindness than with fear. Just look at parenting methods. You can scare a child with punishment to get them to do what you want. Or, you can be kind to them, reaching their heart and they are more likely to comply. Fear based living is not the kindness of God.
However, the kindness of God isn’t allowing you to do whatever you want. Remember, the kindness of God leads you to repentance, which involves a change of mind and actions. He receives you right where you are but He loves you too much to leave you where you are. It’s okay to be where you but not okay to stay where you are. That’s His kindness at work. That’s true grace! Receiving you where you are but changing you so that you don’t have to stay there.
The beauty of God’s kindness is that He is rich in kindness (Romans 2:4). He will never run out and He is not stingy with His kindness. Remember, He even is kind to evil and ungrateful men.
To believe (and live like) that God is not kind, is to believe that God is mean and cruel. To believe that God isn’t kind is to believe that God is manipulative. Unfortunately, many Christians live like God is mean, cruel and manipulative. They would never admit that they believe this but the way they live proves it. After 20 years of working for churches I have seen this over and over. I have even lived this way myself.
The word kind means to be benevolent, characterized by or expressing goodwill. We all know kindness when we see it or experience it. Many of us can’t handle someone being kind to us because we are always on guard for being manipulated. We believe that people have ulterior motives. They want something from us so they do something kind for us. But God is never manipulative like that. God always does kind things because He is kind and He loves people. He doesn’t need anything from us so He can be kind to us without needing something from us.
- Manipulation is always rooted in selfishness.
- Kindness is always rooted in getting to the heart of someone.
- God always goes for the heart, although we believe that God always goes for strict obedience.
Understand this: God wants your love more than your obedience!
Why would God be kind to people that could never repay that kindness? Because He is pure love. He can be kind to you because He doesn’t need anything from you.
- Do you believe that God is kind or mean & cruel?
- Do you believe that God’s kindness comes with no strings attached?
- Are you kind to others or are you more manipulative?