Virtue 26 - Kindness/ Goodness
Story about being kind - About the man whose dog found a cat one night.
Key Scripture - 1 Thessalonians 5:15 (NIV) 15 Make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong, but always try to be kind to each other and to everyone else.
Key Question - What does it mean to do the right thing in my relationship?
Key Idea: I choose to be kind and good in my relationships with others.
For our purposes here, let’s define kindness and goodness in terms of our consistently reflecting the character of God in our motives and actions.
As goodness gains ground in your life - you will notice that fruit starts to attach itself to you.
This fruit will exude from the person’s spirit, causing others to say, “There’s just something different about this person.”
Jesus was good throughout his entire being. Goodness ruled his every motive, thought, word, and action.
People could see God’s goodness in Him. Can they see that in you?
1 Corinthians 13:4 (NIV) 4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.
Paul tells us that love is patient, that love has a long fuse, love is slow to boil, love counts down before it blasts off.
Then he tells us that "love is kind." And that is what I want us to consider this morning.
If you were describing our world, would you describe it as a kind world? As we look at the things going on in our world we would probably answer "No."
I heard a story about a woman who was standing at a bus stop. She had just cashed her tax refund check, so she was carrying more money than usual and was a little bit nervous about that.
She glanced around and noticed a shabbily dressed man standing nearby. And as she watched, she saw a man walk up to him, handed him some money, and whispered something in his ear.
She was so touched by that act of kindness that she decided to do the same. In a burst of generosity, she reached into her purse, took out $10, handed it to the man, and whispered to him, "Never despair, never despair."
The next day when she came to the bus stop, there he was again. But this time he walked up to her and handed her $110. Dumbfounded, she asked, "What's this?" He said, "You won, lady. Never Despair paid 10 to 1."
Now I can't promise that every act of kindness will pay 10 to 1. At times kindness may even cost you something, and require sacrifices on your part.
So with that in mind, let's look at a couple of the clearest examples of kindness in the Bible. They are found in Luke 8:40-56.
(Luke 8:40-56 ESV) Now when Jesus returned, the crowd welcomed him, for they were all waiting for him. And there came a man named Jairus, who was a ruler of the synagogue. And falling at Jesus’ feet, he implored him to come to his house, for he had an only daughter, about twelve years of age, and she was dying. As Jesus went, the people pressed around him. And there was a woman who had had a discharge of blood for twelve years, and though she had spent all her living on physicians, she could not be healed by anyone. She came up behind him and touched the fringe of his garment, and immediately her discharge of blood ceased. And Jesus said, “Who was it that touched me?” When all denied it, Peter said, “Master, the crowds surround you and are pressing in on you!” But Jesus said, “Someone touched me, for I perceive that power has gone out from me.” And when the woman saw that she was not hidden, she came trembling, and falling down before him declared in the presence of all the people why she had touched him, and how she had been immediately healed. And he said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace.” While he was still speaking, someone from the ruler’s house came and said, “Your daughter is dead; do not trouble the Teacher any more.” But Jesus on hearing this answered him, “Do not fear; only believe, and she will be well.” And when he came to the house, he allowed no one to enter with him, except Peter and John and James, and the father and mother of the child. And all were weeping and mourning for her, but he said, “Do not weep, for she is not dead but sleeping.” And they laughed at him, knowing that she was dead. But taking her by the hand he called, saying, “Child, arise.” And her spirit returned, and she got up at once. And he directed that something should be given her to eat. And her parents were amazed, but he charged them to tell no one what had happened.
In this passage we see Jesus showing kindness to two people who are entirely different.
One is a man and the other is a woman. One is an outcast, poor and unknown. The other is rich and influential and the ruler of a synagogue.
And yet, Jesus treats both of them with great kindness.
By the time of this story, Jesus had gained a great deal of fame and was at the pinnacle of his popularity.
People respected Him as a healer and a teacher, and crowds were swarming around Him wherever He went.
But despite the pressures of popularity, despite the crowds constantly pushing in around Him, despite all the demands on His time, Jesus, in His kindness, stopped everything He was doing to help them and to meet their needs.
Somebody once wrote, "Love talked about is easily ignored. But love demonstrated is irresistible." Jesus not only talked about love and kindness, but He modeled it for us, too.
So let's look and see the ways Jesus showed kindness to them, because I think those are the ways that we need to learn to show kindness today.
I. Jesus Expressed Goodness/ Kindness By LISTENING To Them
Jesus expressed kindness by listening to people, by paying attention to their needs.
Luke 8:40-42 (ESV) 40 Now when Jesus returned, the crowd welcomed him, for they were all waiting for him. 41 And there came a man named Jairus, who was a ruler of the synagogue. And falling at Jesus’ feet, he implored him to come to his house, 42 for he had an only daughter, about twelve years of age, and she was dying. As Jesus went, the people pressed around him.
We're not told where Jesus was going. Probably He was on His way to some open place where He could teach and preach to the crowds surging around Him. And that was something very important to do.
But as soon as Jairus came and told Him about his daughter, the very next words we read are "As Jesus went..."
Evidently, Jesus immediately changed directions and started following Jairus because this little girl's situation was much more pressing than whatever else He had scheduled.
By the way, how well do you handle interruptions? Some people work best when they can concentrate on one thing and see it through to completion. They do not normally do 2 or 3 things well at the same time.
So... if they are concentrating, and someone interrupts them, they consider that an intrusion.
They do not normally handle interruptions well. Maybe you don't either.
But as you get older you learn that sometimes interruptions are sent by God, opportunities to minister that you would miss if you ignored them.
If you just go on with your project and don't allow yourself to be interrupted to change directions and go in another way you will miss great opportunities that God may place before you.
Jesus paid attention to Jairus and changed His plans and direction. But Jairus was not the only interruption, and Jesus was flexible and kind enough to pause and meet another need as they were on their way to Jairus' house.
Luke 8:43-46 (ESV) 43 And there was a woman who had had a discharge of blood for twelve years, and though she had spent all her living on physicians, she could not be healed by anyone. 44 She came up behind him and touched the fringe of his garment, and immediately her discharge of blood ceased. 45 And Jesus said, “Who was it that touched me?” When all denied it, Peter said, “Master, the crowds surround you and are pressing in on you!” 46 But Jesus said, “Someone touched me, for I perceive that power has gone out from me.”
v.45 “Who was it that touched me?” Jesus asked. When they all denied it, Peter said, ‘Master, the crowds surround you and are pressing in on you!”
V.46 But Jesus said, “Someone touched me, for I perceive that power has gone out from me.”
There were crowds of people surrounding them, and everyone was in a hurry.
Yet... Jesus was able to differentiate between the touch of the crowd and the personal touch of the woman who needed His help.
Our world is becoming more and more impersonal, isn't it?
Go to a gasoline service station and you don't even have to talk to anybody anymore.
Just put your card in the slot, pump the gas, and you can drive away without ever looking at another human being.
And... it's the same way at the bank, isn't it?
How about the airlines? There are kiosks that you put your information in and it processes your ticket.
We try to call a company and we get “Press 1 for this” and Press 2 for that.” Etc.
Can you imagine what would happen if they did this to "911"? You dial 911 and hear, "If your emergency is a murder, press 1. If it is a burglary, press 2. If the burglar is still in the house, press 3. If he has a gun, press 4 real quick."
I don't know what we are coming to, do you? It has become a very impersonal world.
But Jesus took time to stop in the midst of a crowd to give a woman His personal attention as though she was the only one there.
2. Jesus Expressed Goodness/ Kindness By Being Considerate Of Others
Then, secondly, Jesus expressed kindness by being considerate of others.
Luke 8:47-48 (ESV) 47 And when the woman saw that she was not hidden, she came trembling, and falling down before him declared in the presence of all the people why she had touched him, and how she had been immediately healed. 48 And he said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace.”
Notice v.48 again...“Then He said to her, 'Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace.'"
We need to realize that because of her disease she was considered unclean and therefore was an outcast. They treated her like they treated someone with leprosy.
So because of that, she had not been living with her family for 12 years.
Her self esteem must have been as low as it could possibly be. So Jesus surprises her, first of all, by stopping and listening to her story of woe.
I think we have a very condensed version of the story that she told. I mean, this is probably the first time in a long time that she really had anyone's attention.
So I imagine that she poured out her heart to Him, and Jesus listened. And by listening, by looking at her, by paying attention to her he was displaying real kindness.
Are you a good listener? Most of us probably aren't. We pass each other and say "How are you?" And we expect an automatic, "I'm fine."
But have you ever been caught off guard and someone really told you just how they felt?
I heard a story about a man asking a woman at work… "How are you?" to a lady, and she replied, "You don't want to know."
He says, "She was right. I really didn't have time to listen to her just then. I was hurrying on to do something else."
I think it is true, most of us really don't take the time to listen, do we?
There are so many of us who just need somebody, sometime, to listen, just to focus on us and listen to what we have to say. And Jesus did so that day!
3. Jesus Expressed Goodness/ Kindness Through An Understanding Spirit
Notice that Jesus expressed kindness through an understanding spirit. Notice what it says in vs's 49-56.
Luke 8:49-56 (ESV) 49 While he was still speaking, someone from the ruler’s house came and said, “Your daughter is dead; do not trouble the Teacher any more.” 50 But Jesus on hearing this answered him, “Do not fear; only believe, and she will be well.” 51 And when he came to the house, he allowed no one to enter with him, except Peter and John and James, and the father and mother of the child. 52 And all were weeping and mourning for her, but he said, “Do not weep, for she is not dead but sleeping.” 53 And they laughed at him, knowing that she was dead. 54 But taking her by the hand he called, saying, “Child, arise.” 55 And her spirit returned, and she got up at once. And he directed that something should be given her to eat. 56 And her parents were amazed, but he charged them to tell no one what had happened.
Now let's concentrate on those last few verses. The miracle is exceptional, and we praise God for it.
But notice what Jesus told them after the miracle was over. He said to them, "Don't tell anyone what has happened." (v.56)
Some of the most disturbing words in the English language are 4 words that we like to speak, but hate to hear. They are the words, "I told you so."
It's fun to speak them, and we relish it when we're the ones saying, "I told you so!" But it's very difficult to listen to them, isn't it?
Now remember, those people outside the house had mocked Jesus. They had laughed at Him before He went in to raise the girl back to life again.
If I were Jesus, I know what I would have done. I would have raised the girl back to life, and then I would have taken her by the hand and we would have walked up and down in front of all those mockers. And I would have said, "I told you so, I told you so."
That would have been a lot of fun.
But Jesus didn't do that. He was concerned about how they felt, too. He didn't try to get even with them. He didn't try to get back at them. He didn't try to glorify Himself.
Instead, in kindness, He tells the parents, "Don't tell anyone what has happened here." Sometimes it is not so much what you say as how you say it.
One preacher said, "I have never had to apologize for my position, but I have oftentimes had to apologize for my disposition." Have you ever had to apologize for your disposition?
I love the story about the 6'10" cowboy who walked up to the counter at McDonalds, slammed down his big fist, and said to the girl behind the counter, "I want half a Big Mac." She said, "What?" He said, "I want half a Big Mac and I want it now."
Not being sure what to do, she said, "Excuse me for a minute." And she headed over to her manager without realizing that the man was following her.
She got to the manager and said, "There's a big klutz over there who is dumber than lead and he has ordered half a Big Mac."
And just about that moment she realized that he was standing right behind her. Quickly she added, "And this gentleman wants the other half."
Sometimes you may be put on a spot, and what you say is important. But how you say it can be even more important.
The fact that Jesus didn't want to embarrass those who had been mocking Him, or get even with them speaks volumes, and teaches us how we are to respond to each other, too.
Some construction workers were building a high rise across the street from a hospital. As they were working on the 3rd floor they noticed a little girl standing in the 3rd floor window of the hospital watching them work.
One day they looked across and saw the little girl hold up a poster that said, "My name is Lisa. What are your names?"
So the next day the construction workers came back with some poster board and magic markers, and they all wrote down their names. "My name is Bob. My name is Bill. My name is Harry. How old are you?"
The next day the little girl held up a sign that said, "I am 7 years old. How old are you?" Well, this went on for several days.
But one day they noticed that Lisa wasn't at her usual place in the window. So at break time one of the workers called the hospital and asked for a third floor nurse. He asked if she could tell him anything at all about Lisa.
The nurse said that Lisa had taken a turn for the worse and was now in Intensive Care. So the workers pooled their money and bought some flowers and a card and wrote a note on it, and sent it to Lisa in Intensive Care.
Several days passed, and then another sign appeared at the window, "Lisa passed away. Thank you for caring!"
CONCL. Love is kind. We need to learn to be kind to one another even as God has been kind through Jesus Christ, and offered Him as a sacrifice for all our sins.
1 Thessalonians 5:15 (NIV) 15 Make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong, but always try to be kind to each other and to everyone else.
Our key Scripture verse commands us to strive, not to get even, but rather to do the right thing, no matter what. The Christian’s response should be the action of Jesus, not the reaction of the world.
Romans 12:19-21 (ESV) 19 Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” 20 To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” 21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
Luke 6:27-31 (ESV) 27 “But I say to you who hear, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28 bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. 29 To one who strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also, and from one who takes away your cloak do not withhold your tunic either. 30 Give to everyone who begs from you, and from one who takes away your goods do not demand them back. 31 And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them.
According to Jesus, there are some very specific actions required in order to love your enemies. I see five of them and they are powerful with the power to transform your world-even to the point of transforming your enemies!
First: Jesus says, "Do good to those who hate you."
Second: Jesus says, "Bless those who curse you."
Third: Jesus says, "Pray for those who mistreat you."
Fourth: Jesus says, "Treat others the same way you want them to treat you."
Fifth: Jesus says, "Be perfect (merciful) as your heavenly Father is perfect."
Kindness and Goodness may be: a deed done; a word spoken; an action acknowledged; a wrong confronted; an attitude changed; a critical thought not shared: an offense forgiven; a gift given; an apology accepted; a failure forgotten -
It starts with me - TODAY!
Credits - Melvand Newland, Randy Frazee