Have you ever taken a bite out of a pear and held the sweet, soft taste on your tongue? Of course, dozens of pear types bless the world around, all different: in the USA and Europe, a pear may look red and feel soft on the tongue, while in Asia, a round golden pear has a gritty outside skin with a crunchy, less juicy flesh. Amidst all the differences, though, pears always classify as pyrus species from the Rosaceae family. It’s incredible.
Kindness is like pears in the same way: every person has a unique way of showing kindness, and each kind deed can be done in different settings, for different occasions, yet it’s always the same class of spiritual fruit. No matter how different kindness looks on the outside, it can still be called kindness. Just like pears, it’s always sweet and nice, no matter what. God loves when people are kind, and he is kind to them in return.
“Witness the simultaneous balance of the kindness and severity of our God. Severity is directed at the fallen branches withering without faith. Yet kindness is directed at you. So live in the kindness of God or else prepare to be cut off yourselves.” Romans 11:22 (VOICE)
3 examples of kindness:
- Antonin always comes home from school hungry, so his mom started making a healthy snack for him, to keep him from being uncomfortable.
- Flossie, a lady who owns a ranch, knows how much her new friend Lucia likes horses, so she invites her over one weekend to ride the friendliest American Quarter Horse, Birch.
- The owner of a corner store notices his young customer is short a dollar for the spicy chips he picked out. The customer’s about to go put it back on the shelf when the owner says, “Go on… keep it.” No explanations why he let the guy keep the chips, but the customer goes away happy.
Everyone will show kindness in their own ways. That’s why it is valuable for us to accept each other, each person as he or she is, to truly appreciate a kind act when it is done. For example, imagine a wife asks a husband to build a front porch on their home, so that the steps come out away from the door, and a sitting area is available for guests; the husband is glad to do it, but it doesn’t look the way she wanted it to. Sure, she may be frustrated at him because he did it wrong, and complain about the flaws for days, but that doesn’t make his act any less kind.
Let’s go a little further into the pear analogy before we conclude. You know how when a pear isn’t quite ripe enough, and you try to eat it, it’s hard to bite? Well, sometimes God gives us the chance of a lifetime, to do an act of extreme kindness, something that is (like an unripe pear) hard to bite into. An act of extreme kindness will always be life-changing, either for yourself or another, and it may also require self-sacrifice.
The three examples mentioned above are kindness, but they are not really toilsome in nature. It can be fun to be a good friend or pay for someone’s chips, because you usually get to see a person smile or feel good about what you did, and that makes it “worth it” in your mind. With extreme kindness, however, nothing is gained from what you did, or perhaps you will not be able to see the person’s reaction, or even the person may not want it, but it will undoubtedly help that person.
The Bible is an effective source for examples of extreme kindness. Here are 5:
- In 1 Samuel chapter 24, David had a chance to kill Saul, his pursuer, in the Rocks of the Wild Goats. Saul was plotting to kill him, chasing after him with a deep vengeance, yet David did nothing more than cut his cloak while he was vulnerable (unable to fight back), and he even felt sorry for doing that! David’s extreme act of kindness was life-changing for Saul and completely at his own expense. Saul didn’t want it, he didn’t ask for it, but afterwards, he was blessed.
- In Genesis 13, Abraham bestowed kindness on his nephew Lot when he gave him the choice of land in front of them, as they both decided to part ways, since their herds were getting too large to continue intermingling. The kindness was extreme because Lot decided to choose the lush, fertile land for himself, leaving Abraham with the drier, less convenient spot.
- In Luke 21, we see a touching incident where Jesus looks up and sees a poor woman putting two small coins into the tithing box. She was being extremely kind to give all that she had – in the Scripture it says she literally gave “what she needed for her own living.” In this case, the house of God could have said “Who cares?” since she gave very little in proportion to the richer folk… but Jesus recognized her worth.
- In Acts 9, a Christian man named Ananias was directed, by a dream from God, to go meet Saul (not the same man from David story) in order to help recover his health and learn more about the gospel. Ananias was scared to death. Saul was famous for killing Christians like himself! However, he trusted God and helped Saul, despite his personal safety, proving his kindness.
- We cannot ignore the ultimate gift of kindness Jesus Christ did for us all by dying on the cross. He didn’t want to do it, but he did because it was right, and because he was born for that very reason. You can read about his days on the cross in whichever gospel: Matthew 27, Mark 14-15, and Luke 23.
“But God, the One Who saves, showed how kind He was and how He loved us by saving us from the punishment of sin. It was not because we worked to be right with God. It was because of His loving-kindness that He washed our sins away. At the same time He gave us new life when the Holy Spirit came into our lives. God gave the Holy Spirit to fill our lives through Jesus Christ, the One Who saves. Because of this, we are made right with God by His loving-favor. Now we can have life that lasts forever as He has promised.” Titus 3:4-7 (NLV)
As Christians, God does not always require extreme kindness. Most days, making our friends and family smile is enough. But if in your life you feel a dire need to show kindness, like, there’s something you must do that only you can do, and the Spirit urges you to act, probably for someone else’s safety or their salvation, be comforted as you decide whether to do it; if you choose yes, God will forever remember you; He will thank and reward you personally when you come into heaven, and on that day, so glorious and bright, the heavenly hosts will be overflowing with kindness, and the God-of-Angel-armies will celebrate with you; on that day, you will understand the meaning of all the kind acts you did, both soft and hard, casual and extreme – let that be the reason to choose yes!