Yesterday Norma Jean and I worshiped with the brethren in Cosby, Tennessee, where I preached at the morning service.
Teaching the Bible class was their preacher, 89-year-old Olie Williamson, who’s sharp, quick-witted, and physically active (Olie played golf Thursday and shot an 80).
Olie and his lovely wife Mary are also some of the kindest, sweetest, and most generous people you will ever meet. So, it seemed fitting his Bible class was about the kindness of King David.
“Was David a Rambo or wimp?” Olie asked to begin class.
We might think of David as more of a Rambo type considering he burst on the scene by killing the Philistine giant, Goliath. His military exploits in recapturing Israel’s territory earned him the designation “a man of war.” However, while not a wimp, we do see David’s softer side, not only in some Psalms but from Olie’s text in 2 Samuel 9.
“Is there still anyone who is left of the house of Saul, that I may show him kindness for Jonathan’s sake?” David inquired.
In fact, three times David repeats his desire to show kindness.
Normally, when a national leader falls from favor like Saul did, or is deposed, there is little or no kindness shown to him or his family. But this was different. David and Saul’s son were friends. Close friends. “The soul of Jonathan was knit to the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul” (1 Sam. 18:1).
While Saul was jealous, vindictive, and lashed out in anger against David, God’s choice to succeed Saul as King, Jonathan accepted it. He protected David from his father’s anger. And sought his welfare on more than one occasion. Although Jonathan was dead, David was loyal to his friend and wanted to show kindness to his family.
David learned that Jonathan had a son named, Mephibosheth, who apparently suffered a childhood accident and was “lame in both his feet.” When David sent for Mephibosheth, he came bowing before David, apparently fearing for his life.
“Do not fear,” David responded, “for I will surely show you kindness for Jonathan your father’s sake, and will restore to you all the land of Saul your grandfather; and you shall eat bread at my table continually.”
David’s empathy for and benevolence toward the crippled son of his best friend not only demonstrated his loyalty, compassion, and kindness but offered another reason why David was “a man after God’s own heart.” In fact, at one point David said he wanted to show “the kindness of God” (2 Sam. 9:3).
Our God is a God of kindness. The Psalmist referred to His “merciful kindness” (Ps. 117:2). Isaiah wrote that the LORD possessed “everlasting kindness” (Isa. 54:8). And the prophet Joel said that Jehovah is “gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness” (Joel 2:13).
As God’s chosen people Christians ought to be people of kindness. The “fruit of the spirit is “kindness” (Gal. 5:22). Peter identified “brotherly kindness” as one of the virtues to be added to our faith (2 Pet. 1:7). Paul penned we ought to be clothed with “compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience” (Col. 3:12). Furthermore, he wrote, that such kindness should issue itself in forgiving “whatever grievances you may have against one another.”
Kindness is a quality that seems to be sorely lacking in today’s culture. Political partisans and pundits hurl harsh, hateful, and insensitive insults describing their opponents. Unkind and uncaring comments are often expressed toward those who hold different views on vaccines, wearing masks, and the COVID-19 pandemic in general. Sadly, and almost unbelievably, we’ve heard of churches who’ve divided over these issues.
In a culture that is too often hyper-critical, crass, coarse, and crude, we could use a good dose of kindness.
Kindness is courteous, cordial, and compassionate.
Kindness is gracious, gentle, and good-natured.
Kindness is affectionate, altruistic, and amiable.
Kindness cares about “the least of these,” offers encouragement to fainthearted, and respects the conscience of the weak brother.
Kindness is quick to forgive our brethren, just as the Lord has forgiven us. Ready to give our adversaries the “benefit of the doubt.” And slow to judge our friends’ motives.
Finally, the advice and observation of Joseph Joubert ought to guide us each day: “A part of kindness consists of loving people more than they deserve.”
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman