“And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you” (Eph. 4:32).
While probably everyone has an idea of what it means to be kind, the precise definition of kindness might surprise you! Let’s begin by seeing how the Bible defines this word, as we compare Scripture with Scripture:
In II Chronicles 10, Rehoboam had just inherited the throne of Israel upon the death of his father Solomon (9:29-31). When the people asked if he would ease the financial burden that his father had placed upon them (10:1-5), Rehoboam “took counsel with the old men that had stood before Solomon” (v. 6). These elders wisely replied,
“If thou be kind to this people, and please them, and speak good words to them, they will be thy servants for ever” (v. 7).
However, the parallel passage in I Kings 12 records their words differently:
“If thou wilt be a servant unto this people this day, and wilt serve them, and answer them, and speak good words to them, then they will be thy servants for ever” (v. 7).
Far from a discrepancy, this variation in what these men were heard to say that day is God’s way of defining kindness. To be kind to a man means to be a servant to him. This agrees with Webster’s definition of the word “kind”: “Disposed to do good to others, and to make them happy by granting their requests, supplying their wants…,” etc.
How important is kindness? When Rehoboam “forsook the counsel of the old men” (I Kings 12:8), and determined to be more unkind than his father ever dreamed of being (vv. 14,15), “Israel rebelled against the house of David” (v. 19). This was the beginning of the great division in the twelve tribes of Israel, as Jeroboam led ten of the tribes in revolt away from the house of David, driving a wedge between the ten tribes of Israel and the two tribes of Judah (I Kings 12:20-33). In other words, millions of people were divided for a thousand years—all for the lack of a little kindness!
In closing, while your lack of kindness is not likely to have that kind of monumental effect in the world, it will affect someone. Why not rather decide right now to be Pauline in practice as well as in doctrine, and “be ye kind one to another!”
To the Reader:
Some of our Two Minutes articles were written many years ago by Pastor C. R. Stam for publication in newspapers. When many of these articles were later compiled in book form, Pastor Stam wrote this word of explanation in the Preface:
"It should be borne in mind that the newspaper column, Two Minutes With the Bible, has now been published for many years, so that local, national and international events are discussed as if they occurred only recently. Rather than rewrite or date such articles, we have left them just as they were when first published. This, we felt, would add to the interest, especially since our readers understand that they first appeared as newspaper articles."
To this we would add that the same is true for the articles written by others that we continue to add, on a regular basis, to the Two Minutes library. We hope that you'll agree that while some of the references in these articles are dated, the spiritual truths taught therein are timeless.