Proverbs 31:25-26 (NKJV)
Strength and honor are her clothing; she shall rejoice in time to come. She opens her mouth with wisdom, and on her tongue is the law of kindness.
I love the Proverbs 31 woman. (Proverbs 31:10-31) For many years, I have completely identified with her due diligence. This woman sounds driven, motivated and hard working. Fiercely attentive to her family and a dedicated friend. She is socially minded and given to goodwill. She sounds like a Martha kind of gal who works from dawn until dusk caring for her family, maintaining her household and providing financial support. I think it is strangely ironic that as the passage progresses at verse 25 something begins to change. Like in life, it seems that with age she begins to mellow. She has knit a garment of strength and honor in the course of life and now she can rejoice in the rest that comes with such confidence. She opens her mouth that is now filled with wisdom. Experience can do that to a person. It takes all the ideas and notions that a person once had and wraps in the truth of reality and hopefully genuine faith. As I read about the virtuous wife today, I stopped at this quality “on her tongue is the law of kindness.” I hear my grandmother’s voice when my brother and I would argue and fuss. She would say, “Lori, you must be kind to your brother.”
Be kind to your brother…and sister. Is the Law of Kindness on the tip of my tongue today? I am challenged by this character trait as I desire to be a Proverbs 31 woman, wife, mother, daughter, sister, and friend. Truth is kind when one is referring to Jesus. He is always kind. Am I? It has taken a great deal in life to slow me down my Martha-mentality. I desire to have a heart that is soft like Mary’s who would sit at the feet of Jesus even when life is crazy and chaotic. A co-worker came into the office obviously distraught. Her pain deep and raw with an unruly rebellious teenager. She had exhausted all efforts and now must lean toward drastic measures to insure the safety and well-being of her child. Sitting at her desk, her heart broke and I was there to listen. But as she began to release the built up sorrow and strong emotions, her words were filled with harsh profanity. As she continued, my heart absolutely broke for this young woman. She has overcome many challenges in life. She believes in God but does not know Jesus. I was that girl at one time. I knew of God but had not experienced His Love and Kindness so when my mouth opened – it was not the Law of Kindness that came tumbling out either. My heart is broken for this young woman and I know that there is a reason she is in my midst. I do not judge her for her words, but have become more aware of the change and sudden shift that Jesus has made in me. I am aware that many times I have lacked kindness and therefore withheld love in my vain attempts at right-standing with God. Choosing to do the right thing and say the right words, I missed it. Lord, take a coal from your altar today and touch my tongue. Holy Spirit, fill my heart with kindness so it reaches the tip of my tongue.
Galatians 5:22-23 (NKJV)
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.
It is my firm belief that if it falls within the Fruit of the Holy Spirit that is not a naturally occurring product of life. We think that there is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control but humanly manufactured it fails quickly. To be completely satisfied in Jesus Christ, we must live a life of prosperity. Our prosperity is not financial but fruitful. Kindness is on the list. Therefore, I can be a good person and try to be kind but without the Lord it will not be a law that governs my life. I will choose who to love and have compassion for but that is not what Jesus asked us to do. He said to, “love one another.” It is not defined or specified even reaching as far as our enemies. How can we show loving kindness to the people we do not like when we cannot love the ones who we are with?
2 Peter 1:5-8 (NKJV)
But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love. For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Godliness produces kindness and kindness produces love. Without kindness in our heart and life, there is no love. Oh, I know what you are thinking…the truth hurts. No sin hurts and destroys. But love changes all that. It says that love covers a multitude of sins. “Covers” think of Noah when he became drunk and “uncovered” in the field. (Genesis 9) What did his sons do? They took a garment and walking backward him up. Their faces turned away so that they would not see their father’s nakedness. This is how the Lord covers us with His Love. He doesn’t come and remind us of our sin but covers it in compassion, kindness and love. Do we keep our head turned from those who sin and wander from the Lord? Do we “bless their heart” as a means to share their shortcomings and indiscretions with others? Or do we take the opportunity to “cover” them as Christ has covered us? Though our sins were once as scarlet, they are now as white as snow. I am challenged today by this law of kindness. I want to love others like Jesus. Kindness is an important part of my pursuit of a godly life.
Ephesians 2:4-7 (NKJV)
But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.
I have forgotten many times that the work of salvation and promise of change in me is nothing that I have facilitated. In fact, it was in complete brokenness that I discovered that only in my weaknesses do I find strength in Christ. The realization that I can do nothing apart from Him and that I cannot even love without His Spirit helps me to recognize that I am made alive in Jesus Christ. All my hard work, motivation and even all those good intentions did nothing to establish the righteousness that I live in and faith I have found. It is Jesus who raised me up. Not to look down at others but to share His Loving Kindness so they will be lifted up as well.
Titus 3:3-7 (NKJV)
For we ourselves were also once foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving various lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful and hating one another. But when the kindness and the love of God our Savior toward man appeared, not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior, that having been justified by His grace we should become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.
“For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror; for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was.” (James 1:23-24) As I read the verse in Titus 3, this passage in James came flooding into my thoughts. This happens even to the strongest Christians sometimes. We forget. Plain and simple. I do not think it begins with maliciousness but certainly ends up there quickly. We see the masterpiece that the Lord is making of our life. The chains of bondage like fear, doubt, regret, shame and remorse fall off but if we are not careful the ugly face of pride will consume our humility. We speak the Word from our mouth but do not love others with our heart. It doesn’t matter what I say or do if it is not with kindness and love like Jesus loves me. We were “once” foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving lusts and worldly worthless pleasures like pride and conceit, living in malice and envy, hateful and hating one another. But God… but Jesus… but the Holy Spirit covered me in love and kindness, saving me by His Grace. He is renewing me, restoring me and regenerating life through me or is He? Have I forgotten? Did I look in the mirror and somehow go back to the person who I used to be? The world establishes a hierarchy of sin that is simply not so. One sin nailed Jesus to the Cross and demanded every ounce of His Precious Blood. Just one. The one you committed and the one I committed even if done in the name of being right.
Jonah learned a hard lesson about kindness in the belly of the whale. Mad about the sins of others, he did not want to go and tell them of its destruction because he knew in his heart that the Lord would show them grace, mercy, love and kindness just as he had been given. It made him mad. (Jonah4:1-3) Do you get upset when you work so hard but others don’t yet still are blessed? Do you envy your brothers and sisters in Christ? Do you watch others sin and feel like they do not deserve the same grace because you try hard not to? Friends, it is because of the love and kindness that we have experienced in Jesus Christ that we choose not to offend our First Love with sin and betrayal. It has nothing to do with anyone else. The enemy wants us to fall back into the sin of unforgiveness and disregard for the state of others so He can rob us of the rich and satisfying life Jesus is giving us. Do not fall victim to his lies and deception. Allow the Lord to produce loving kindness in you today!
Colossians 3:12-13 (NKJV)
Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do.
I am the elect of God. I am holy and beloved because Jesus showed me tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering with total and complete forgiveness. I must show these same qualities to others if my goal is to show them His Love and be His Light to the world. Have we forgotten just what the Lord has done for us? We have if we approach another human being with anything less than absolute love and kindness. If the words of our mouth do not come with the conviction in our heart that God’s Love can only be responded to in like kind. I have to give what I have been given to maintain it. To whom much is given much is required. Jesus died for me.
2 Corinthians 6:3 says, “we give no offense to anything, that our ministry will not be blamed.” You and I are ministers of the loving kindness that Jesus Christ has given us. When you look at the long list of violations against the early church, it is quite humbling considering we as believers have not undergone such volatile attacks. It gives a long list of “marks of ministry”. Tucked within these verses is the reminder that “by purity, by knowledge, by longsuffering, by kindness, by the Holy Spirit, by sincere love, by the Word of Truth, by the Power of God… and the list goes. We have been given so much. We must give it back in equal measure. I must not give offense to the Cause of Christ but bear the mark of ministry called kindness in each interaction. God has promised that His Kindness will be mine forever. (Isaiah 54:9-10) Whenever I turn to the Lord, I am always met with His Loving Kindness and nothing less than Unfailing and Relentless Love. What about those who come in contact with you? What is the offering of your life today? When people come to you, what is the gift that is given? Is there any sacrifice at all? We cannot slay others with truth because that is not what we have been given. Our patience cannot run out without questioning our own forgiveness in Christ. His Grace is enough… is ours for other people. Truth about God cannot be spoken without love and kindness or it is not the truth but a lie. Forgive me for all those times that I tried to deliver it outside of its intent to love and embrace others. Thank you Lord for reminding me today the important of kindness. Loving kindness is essential to be like you. Let the law of kindness be on my tongue, in my heart and radiate from my life today in Jesus Name.
Isaiah 54:9-10 (NKJV)
“For this is like the waters of Noah to Me; for as I have sworn that the waters of Noah would no longer cover the earth, so have I sworn that I would not be angry with you, nor rebuke you. For the mountains shall depart and the hills be removed, but My kindness shall not depart from you, nor shall My covenant of peace be removed,” says the Lord, who has mercy on you.