Ask God to help you be kind, generous, and understanding
Doug Britton, MFT
Practicing Kindness: Introduction
What is the first thing you tell yourself before you walk into a room full of people, join a meeting, bring up a problem, correct a child, give a friend feedback, or tell a joke? Likewise, what do you pray about at these times? In this study, you will read about an important attitude that God wants us to have in all of these situations—to be kind.
Being kind means being compassionate and generous in your heart, words, and actions. It means being genuinely concerned for the welfare of others.
That doesn’t come easily for most of us, especially when we are upset or frustrated. However, as we grow closer to Jesus, God wants us to change, to become kinder. That’s because kindness is one fruit of the Spirit, fruit that grows in us as we grow in Christ.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. (Galatians 5:22-23)
Kindness and love go hand-in-hand
Jesus said the most important commandments are to love God and to love others, even our enemies (Mark 12:28-31 and Matthew 5:43-46). However, it isn’t always easy to love others, and sometimes it’s hard to even know what love is. That’s why Paul wrote a long description of what love is, and what it isn’t, in Chapter 13 of 1 Corinthians. Let’s read one verse in this chapter:
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. (1 Corinthians 13:4)
Notice that Paul described love as a collection of attitudes nd actions, not emotions, and that kindness is the second attitude in the list. It’s obvious that God wants us to be kind.
Related: Replace irritation with grace
Make it personal
1. What do you think it means to have a kind attitude? Explain your answer.
2. Do you think it would be good for you to ask God to help you be kind before you talk with people? Why or why not?
The Bible tells us to be kind
In his letters to the Ephesians and Colossians, Paul emphasized how important it is to be kind:
Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. (Ephesians 4:31-32)
Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. (Colossians 3:12)
What do you think?
3. What is the opposite of kindness? Explain your answer.
4. Do you God cares whether or not you are kind? Why or why not?
Remember God’s kindness
When I remember God’s kindness to me, it helps me be kind to others.
Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, tolerance and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness leads you toward repentance? (Romans 2:4)
And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast. (Ephesians 2:6-9)
But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life. (Titus 3:4-6)
Make it personal
5. Has God been kind to you? If so, explain how he has shown you.
6. Does remembering God’s kindness to you inspire you to want to be kinder to others? Why or why not?
Practice unusual kindness
When Paul and the other survivors of a shipwreck swam to shore on the island of Malta, they were greeted by islanders who apparently did not know them. The Bible says the islanders went out of their way to show “unusual kindness” to Paul and the others (Acts 28:2).
The islanders showed us unusual kindness. They built a fire and welcomed us all because it was raining and cold. (Acts 28:2)
It was raining and cold, yet the islanders moved out of their comfort zones to help strangers in need.
What do you think?
7. Why do you think the Bible described the islanders’ actions as “unusual kindness”? What was unusual about it?
8. Describe a situation in which you think God might want you to display unusual kindness.
Practice kindness in the midst of your troubles
It’s easy to be kind when it doesn’t cost you anything. When things are going well for you, it’s not too difficult to be kind to someone else. However, it can be much more challenging to be kind when you are going through difficult times.
In 2 Corinthians 6, Paul gave us a great example of showing kindness. Let’s read a few verses in this chapter:
Rather, as servants of God we commend ourselves in every way: in great endurance; in troubles, hardships and distresses; in beatings, imprisonments and riots; in hard work, sleepless nights and hunger; in purity, understanding, patience and kindness; in the Holy Spirit and in sincere love; in truthful speech and in the power of God; with weapons of righteousness in the right hand and in the left; through glory and dishonor, bad report and good report; genuine, yet regarded as impostors; known, yet regarded as unknown; dying, and yet we live on; beaten, and yet not killed; sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; poor, yet making many rich; having nothing, and yet possessing everything. (2 Corinthians 6:4-10)
In spite of troubles, hardships, distresses, beatings, sleepless nights, and hunger, Paul demonstrated patience and kindness.
Make it personal
9. Do you agree that it can be easier to be kind when things are going well for you? Why or why not?
10. How do you think Paul had the love, grace, and strength to be kind in the midst of such extreme mistreatment?
11. Would you like to be more like Paul, sincerely loving others and showing kindness regardless of your circumstances? Why or why not?
Enjoy the results of being kind
When we are kind, we may or may not see immediate rewards here on earth. However, we reap many “rewards” in the Holy Spirit.
A kindhearted woman gains respect, but ruthless men gain only wealth. (Proverbs 11:16)
A kind man benefits himself, but a cruel man brings trouble on himself. (Proverbs 11:17)
Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. (Galatians 6:9)
Some of the results of being kind:
- You become more like Jesus.
- You enter into a closer walk with him.
- You encourage other believers.
- You demonstrate the love of Christ to unbelievers.
Related: Love other people as-is
Putting it all together
Ask God to help you be kind before you walk into a room full of people, join a meeting, bring up a problem, correct a child, give a friend feedback, or tell a joke.
Before you say something, ask yourself, “Would it be kind to say this?”
Related: Communicate with respect and love
Make it personal
12. Will these suggestions to pray and think help you be a kinder person? Why or why not?
13. Review the key points in this study. Which points of verses made the greatest impact on you? How will they help you be kind?
Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. (Ephesians 4:32)
1. Explain what it means to be kind.
2. How often do you think you are kind with others?
3. What are some examples of times you have been kind in the past week?
4. What are some times you should have been kind in the past week, but you weren’t?
5. What is one verse about kindness that speaks to you personally?
6. Say a prayer, thanking God for his kindness.
7. Now pray, asking God to help you remember to be kind.
8. How can you remember to be kind when you are going through hard times?
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About Doug Britton, MFT
Doug Britton, Bible-based Marriage and Family Therapist, has helped hundreds of thousands of people as a therapist, clinical director of a treatment center, seminar speaker, radio cohost, and author of over twenty books that show how to apply God's truths in your daily life. (Visit www.dougbrittonbooks.com.)
Copyright © 2020 Doug Britton. Permission granted to print for personal use. (Scripture verses are from the New International Version, copyright © 1984.) See reprint policy.