After General Robert E. Lee retired from the military, he was named President of Washington Academy in Lexington, Virginia, where he served from 1865 to 1870. Later the name of the school was changed to Washington and Lee University to honor General Lee’s service.
While serving as President, a new student came to General Lee’s office and asked for a copy of the student handbook detailing the university’s rules and regulations.
Lee replied that the school had no printed rules. He said, “Our only rule is kindness.”
What a great concept! If the “rule of kindness” was really applied in universities, businesses, communities and governments we wouldn’t have to worry so much about the “rule of law.”
Our word of the week is “kindness.”
There are nine qualities called “the fruit of Spirit.” Love. Joy. Peace. Patience. Goodness. Faithfulness. Gentleness. And included among these noble characteristics is kindness. (Gal. 5:22-23)
Among the virtues that the apostle Peter said needed to be added to our faith is “brotherly kindness” (2 Pet. 1;7)
The character of the Christian is to be clothed in kindness. The Bible says, “Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.” (Col 3:12)
This wonderful quality describes the worthy woman in Proverbs 31. “She opens her mouth with wisdom, And on her tongue is the law of kindness.”
Solomon also said, “What is desirable in a man is his kindness, (Prov. 19:22)
Kindness is one of the traits that almost needs no definition. We have an innate understanding what it means to be kind to others. Kindness is being thoughtful. Considerate. Gracious. Kindness is good, mild and pleasant, as opposed to harsh, sharp and bitter.
The Bible commentator Plummer says that kindness is “sympathetic” and possesses a “ sweetness of temper which puts others at their ease and shrinks from giving pain.”
No wonder Paul says that “love is kind” (1 Cor 13:4).
Why does the Bible says so much about kindness?
Because it is so easy to be unkind, to speak sharply, and to act in a way that lacks civility and common courtesy. Our fleshly nature is filled with pride, selfishness and an exaggerated sense of our own importance. These are enemies of kindness.
In a world that is often insensitive, cold and calloused, Christians are called upon to be different. As we interact with our brethren, friends and family, let’s learn to be nice. Be considerate. Be caring. Be loving. Be patient. Be kind.
Kindness overlooks minor issues. Kindness encourages the weak, the novice, and the timid. Kindness lifts up the young and inspires them to greater service. Kindness overlooks perceived slights and forgives others their trespasses.
Mark Twain was right when he wrote, “Kindness is a language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see. So, what act of kindness can I express today?
Is it a word of encouragement to someone who is struggling? A note of thanks for another’s thoughtfulness? A phone call to just say, “Hi, I’m thinking of you?” Maybe just a text message with a few kind words? Or a kind Facebook post for someone who is hurting, struggling or lonely.
Kindness may take the form of running an errand for someone. Or babysitting the children of a frazzled mother. Or visiting the sick or shut-in. Kindness may be a birthday card. Anniversary card. A get well card. Or a check in the mail to someone struggling financially.
Kindness may be felt with a pat on the back. A squeeze of the hand. A hug. Or the twinkle of one’s eye and a knowing smile.
“There’s no such thing as a small act of kindness, wrote Scott Adams. “Every act creates a ripple with no logical end.”
Who knows what impact your loving word, thoughtful gesture, or unselfish deed may have upon another?
“Be kind to one another” (Eph 4:32).
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman