The value of being kind is frequently underestimated. The term is sometimes used interchangeably with “nice” or “pleasant,” implying that these qualities are equivalent. It tends to be a very commonplace virtue. But, what about God? Is God good?
However, the Bible paints a distinctive picture of kindness, which we shall explore today.
Hesed: God’s True and Loving Kindness
The Hebrew term hesed may be the most important Old Testament portrayal of God’s relationship with His people.
The Hebrew term hesed (חֶסֶד) has a lot in common with other scriptural words like charity, empathy, affection, generosity, and fidelity, yet none quite capture the whole meaning. Hesed is not only a sentiment; it’s taking practical steps to help those suffering. The Hebrew word hesed implies a sort of “loyal love.” It’s this kind of love that motivates people to be forgiving and kind to others.
The Hebrew word hesed is used in about 250 instances in the Old Testament and captures a key aspect of God’s nature. In the second appearance of God to Moses, when He gave the Law, He declared that He was “abounding in” or “filled with” hesed, which various translations of the Bible render as “love and faithfulness,” “unfailing love,” “faithful love,” “steadfast love,” and “loyal love” (Exodus 34:6–7).
At its heart, this word expresses a commitment to a partnership marked by loyalty or faithfulness. This means that the covenant between God and Israel is intrinsically linked to the concept of hesed. Hesed, as an expression of God’s love, describes His unwavering devotion to His people.
Additionally, God promises to shower His hesed (love and favor) on people who love and follow Him “for a thousand generations” (Exodus 20:6). Everywhere in the Old Testament, God’s biblical love is shown as dependable, eternal, and faithful.
Can Humanity Exhibit Hesed?
God promises to shower His hesed (love and favor) on people who love and follow Him “for a thousand generations” (Exodus 20:6). Everywhere in the Old Testament, God’s biblical love is shown as dependable, eternal, and faithful.
Although God’s steadfast love (hesed) is infinite and unending, human beings can also express hesed to each other. Hesed, as shown in the relationship between Jonathan and David (1 Samuel 18:3; 20:8; 2 Samuel 9:1, 3, 7), prompts the dominant party to provide the essential requirements of the weaker component.
It is always offered willingly, with no expectation of reward or threat of punishment. Hesed was born out of the connection between the two people.
When God’s people fail to keep their end of the covenant, God remains loving and faithful (hesed) to them. God’s boundless compassion, kindness, and mercy are at the center of the Hebrew word hesed.
Hesed is more than just friendliness or goodwill. The heart’s natural tendency is to bestow “amazing grace” on the object of one’s affection. Hesed is not conditional on the recipient’s deservingness, ability, or superficiality. Devoted, familial love is the foundation for the virtue of hesed, which takes practical form via deeds.
Kindness is Divine
Paul made his case to the Corinthian church that he was a legitimate apostle by describing the hardships he had to go through in the service of the gospel, the spiritual vitality God had given him despite this, and the spiritual fruits that had resulted from his relationship with God (2 Corinthians 6:1–13). The virtue of kindness was notably included in his list of spiritual fruits.
He replied, “You want evidence I’m an apostle? “All right, here it is: I am kind.”
Generous acts come from the Spirit (Galatians 5:22). It’s a disposition of the soul that is extraordinarily compassionate toward others, even if those others haven’t earned it and don’t cherish us back. Because God is merciful like that. Since the goal of his mercy is forgiveness (Romans 2:4), it follows that those who are not yet his followers are still considered his foes.
Therefore, we reflect God’s mercy by showing compassion to those who persecute us.
Jesus said, “Love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, for he is kind to the ungrateful and the evil” (Luke 6:35).
Our Father’s love is reflected in our generosity.
“Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you” (Ephesians 4:32).
In certain cases, being nice won’t feel good. It may even feel like a knock to the noggin. That’s why the Bible says, “Let a righteous man strike me — it is a kindness; let him rebuke me — it is oil for my head; let my head not refuse it” (Psalm 141:5).
The Pharisees were snakes in Jesus’ eyes. Even though it was unpleasant, Jesus was compassionate by revealing their wrongdoing. A kind doctor must do a deep incision to remove malignancy.
Kindness Brings Redemption
Two main reasons are given for Paul’s letter to the Romans. First, he has been striving to gain access to them yet has been hindered so far (Rom 1:10, 13). (Rom 1:10, 13). Second, he wishes to inspire and be inspired by them (Rom 1:12). (Rom 1:12). In the first chapter, Paul addresses the issue of sin.
Continuing, he compels the church to avoid sinning condemnation toward people who practice paganism and to keep themselves free from paganism’s entanglements. In the first few lines of chapter 2, Paul emphasizes how crucial it is for the church to avoid the sin of narrow-mindedness, especially in light of the surrounding pagan culture.
In conclusion, he makes a remarkable assertion about God’s hesed nature: “Or do you despise the riches of his kindness, restraint, and patience, not recognizing that God’s kindness [chrēstotēs] is intended to lead you to repentance?”
The greatest incentive for preventing the Roman Christians, both Jew, and Gentile, from being buried in their immoral pagan environment and protecting them from condemning one another, in the end, is to recall the revelation of God’s nature that stretches back to Exodus 34.
He is a God of hesed. However, it is not out of fear that we are pulled to him, but rather because of the incredible kindness he has shown us.
A Prayer For Finding Kindness In Your Heart
God the Father,
You have taught us how to act as Your children by providing us with the Bible. I hope that You, Holy Spirit, will always find me to be a child who exemplifies kindness and humility.
I want to live a life constantly defined by kindness and compassion, and not just when it is convenient. Please give me the will to treat others with kindness today. Help me to be a person who welcomes the poor and helps the needy so that they may know You through my acts and praise You for Your goodness.
Please take a look inside my soul and point out the places where arrogance and animosity have taken up residence. Being a mortal human still has its downsides, and I acknowledge that I have sinful tendencies that need to be washed away by Your divine might. I ask for a purifying light in my existence that would transform me into a child with kindness and love.
Check out some of our other posts!