Kindness seems to be a topic everyone knows about. We hear about kindness everywhere – from influential figures to social media platforms and even movies. Many of us might sigh or say “we get it, we have to be kind.” However, the crux of the matter is that as much as we hear about and know about it, are we actually taking the time to practice this kindness thing which seems to be a rare attribute in modern society.
I was able to choose between three particular topics to preach to the youth at our church and they were between kindness, peace, and passion. I didn’t want to do kindness because I felt it was the easiest, most common and everyone probably would feel get bored. I really wanted to do either passion or peace so that it would actually challenge me in my preaching. Little did I know it wasn’t actually about what I wanted but what God wanted me to speak about and that was kindness. I felt God really pressing on my heart that it was kindness He wanted me to speak about. Kindness sometimes may seem to be the easiest thing to talk about but it can be the hardest thing to actually apply to our lives.
I was listening to one of our preachers and he spoke about kindness. He used this story from the Old Testament and I really felt like this story would be a great one to use at Youth Church.
It is one between King David and Mephibosheth. Yes, that is a name! I’m always intrigued by some of the names I come across in the bible!
Before we dive into that, I want to tell you a bit about Mephibosheth. We first hear of Mephibosheth in II Samuel 4:4 and we read this – “(Saul’s son Jonathan had a son named Mephibosheth, who was crippled as a child. He was five years old when the report came from Jezreel that Saul and Jonathan had been killed in battle. When the child’s nurse heard the news, she picked him up and fled. But as she hurried away, she dropped him, and he became crippled.)” Wow. Imagine how bad that nurse must have felt… But that is what we know of Mephibosheth. I just want to explain a bit more about who everyone else is here so you know what’s happening. Saul was the previous King of Israel, Jonathan was Saul’s son, Mephibosheth was Jonathan’s son and David’s was Jonathan’s BFF. That’s just a bit about who these individuals were.
II Samuel chapter 9 is where we read about an amazing act of kindness. The chapter is actually titled ‘David’s Kindness to Mephibosheth’.
One day David asked if any of Saul’s family were still alive because he wanted to show them kindness. Now this was a big deal! Usually, when someone became king they would get rid of anyone related to the previous king because they thought they might be a threat and try to take over the throne. However, David wanted to be kind because of how close he and his BFF Jonathan had been. David then called an individual named Ziba who was one of Saul’s servants and asked Ziba the same question and in II Samuel 9:3-4 we read – “Is anyone still alive from Saul’s family? If so, I want to show God’s kindness to them. Ziba replied, “Yes, one of Jonathan’s sons is still alive. He is crippled in both feet.”
David then sent someone to go fetch Mephibosheth. Now In Mephibosheth’s mind, he must be thinking he is going to be killed and he can’t even run away because his legs don’t even function properly. He probably felt doomed. When he finally was brought to David we read this in II Samuel 9:6-7 – “When he came to David, he bowed low to the ground in deep respect. David said, “Greetings, Mephibosheth.” Mephibosheth replied, “I am your servant.” “Don’t be afraid!” David said. “I intend to show kindness to you because of my promise to your father, Jonathan. I will give you all the property that once belonged to your grandfather Saul, and you will eat here with me at the king’s table!”
Wait, what just happened? That is probably also what was going through Mephibosheth’s mind too! He was inheriting property, he wouldn’t have to work and he would have breakfast, lunch, and dinner with David, the King! Also if you were cripple back then you were frowned upon and didn’t have much of a life or a future, you were an outcast (I love how David went against what society deemed acceptable). We can see David’s kindness so much here. He didn’t have to do it. It wasn’t even his family, but he did. He extended kindness towards Mephibosheth.
Kindness isn’t just something found in the Old Testament, though, but also in the New. Looking at the New Testament we see that it says this in Colossians 3:12, “Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience.” – Colossians 3:12
Here it talks about how every day we must dress with kindness. It should be the same as when you put on a shirt in the morning. That is how a part of you it must become. I’m going to give you three ways in how you can dress in kindness each day when you get dressed in the morning.
Use of kind words.
It’s so much easier to say something horrible than it is to say something kind. Saying the first thing that comes to mind, or not taking the time to think about what you say before you speak can really hurt someone. This often comes about when there is a fight or dispute of some sort. However, it can also be easy to be kind with your words. How? By taking a little extra time to think about your words before you say them out loud. This may sound like a lot of work, but it’s really not. You just need to ask yourself one question: Are the words I am about to say kind? If the answer is yes, that’s awesome, go for it. If the answer is no, don’t say them and rather think of something kind to respond with.
Performing actions in kindness.
Our actions should be kind. Obviously. You have probably heard this countless times just like be kind with your words, but ask yourself—do you take the time to think about when you perform an action, that you do it in kindness? The same way as you do with your words. Actions speak much louder than words and we can do some very harmful things with our actions. Take a step back, ask if the action you are about to perform is kind.
So this week, wherever you are, take the time to purposefully make sure your actions are kind. Whether it is helping someone you’ve never met with paying for groceries or something simple like making a cup of coffee for your significant other after they have had a long and horrible day at work. Don’t only think about how your actions affect you, or what people think of your actions. Think about how your actions can be done in kindness. And then do it!
Having an attitude of kindness.
This can be a tricky one. Attitude as we all know it is always a tough one to deal with. It is something we struggle to be conscious of because we carry it around with us wherever we go and it is so apart of us.
Does your attitude show kindness two weeks after you’ve had a massive argument with a loved one or friend? How do you choose to respond? Again I ask, does your attitude show kindness?
The beauty of all this is that we can’t actually do all of this on our own. As much as we are in control of these things, we need God’s help. We need to ask Him every day to help clothe us in kindness. Every single day.
It’s so important to show kindness to everyone, even the people who you don’t feel like being kind to. Whether it is your parents, brother, sister, friends or even people you don’t even know!
No matter what, be kind. You don’t know what is going on inside of that person. That person may be going through the biggest struggle of their life and nobody has said or done anything kind for them in a while.
Here is some more food for thought. When you kind to somebody that might be that person’s only experience of seeing Jesus, through the kindness you showed them. Somewhere deep inside the question that individual may ask “Why was that person kind to me?” Already there has been something planted and we never know what could grow from that. That one moment could open up an opportunity to share why you acted in kindness and that could possibly lead the conversation to Jesus.
At the end of the day, it can never hurt to be kind to someone, but unkindness will only end up hurting them as well as yourself.