Skip to content
Feb 27 / Chuck Smith, Jr.

February 27, 2022



Put on then, as God’s chosen, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness . . . . Colossians 3:12

Intro: We are working our way through Paul’s virtue list here in Colossians 3

But this morning it is difficult to not be distracted by war in Ukraine
– millions of desperate prayers are reaching out to God to bring an end to it
• we’ve seen heartbreaking images and also steadfast bravery
• last week our theme was compassionate hearts
◦ and by your response to that talk, I know you are in pain for the many victims of this conflict

I am going to say three things about the Russian/Ukraine war and then let it go
1. the war is the doing of world governments, and no one is innocent
• Ukraine has waged war on Luhankst since 2014
◦ Russia has provided military aid to the Luhankst People’s Republic
◦ the U.S. has not acknowledged the legitimacy of the Luhankst independence
• governments act in their own interests, not civilian interests
◦ citizens are often victims of their government’s decisions
◦ and they are men, women, and children like us
2. the key issue is not how this proves we’re living in the end times
• our concern is for human lives right now – that they have shelter, safety, food and water
• we work and pray for peace in this present world
◦ locating where we are on an eschatological timeline is not the priority
3. already we are witnessing generous acts of kindness
• Poland has welcomed 120,000 refugees with open arms
• Tom and Alida Sharp lived and ministered in Ukraine
◦ he received this message from a former student:
Ruslan Ilchenko, “Friends and relatives from Russia call and write, The biggest thing that touches my heart from their words is when they cry and apologize for Putin’s aggression! They say: ‘We supported him regarding the introduction of troops into the LDNR to protect against Ukrainian troops, not to attack other civilian cities, and especially the “Mother City” Kiev. We are ashamed, forgive us if you can. . . .’”

I suspect that this one word, kindness, could change our lives

Compared to other human actions, the energy of kindness is weak
– a glance at the vice list in verses 5 and 8, we see powerful energy of:
• anger, malice, slander, sexual immorality, and greed
• there is an excess of anger in our country
◦ if not always out in the open, it seethes beneath surface
◦ sadly, it has become characteristic of many Christians
(those who scare me the most are the ones who say hateful things with a smile)
– however, if we let kindness work in our souls,
• we will find a strength in doing good we never knew possible
• kindness waters the earth with goodness and hope
◦ it washes and bandages every sort of wound
◦ kindness could heal the world

The poets and prophets of Hebrew Scriptures were captivated by God’s kindness

Oh, how abundant is your [kindness],
which you have stored up for those who fear you
and worked for those who take refuge in you . . . (Ps. 31:19)
Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good [kind]! (Ps. 34:8)
. . . in your goodness [kindness], O God, you provided for the needy (Ps. 68:10)
Oh give thanks to the LORD, for he is good,
for his steadfast love endures forever! (Ps. 107:1)
You are good [kind] and do good; / teach me your statutes
(Ps. 119:68)
Peter O’brien, Kindness “is a quality which God himself demonstrates in concrete actions.”
Thus says the LORD: In this place of which you say, “It is a waste without man or beast,” in the cities of Judah and the streets of Jerusalem that are desolate, without man or inhabitant or beast, there shall be heard again the voice of mirth and the voice of gladness, the voice of the bridegroom and the voice of the bride, the voices of those who sing, as they bring thank offerings to the house of the LORD:
‘Give thanks to the LORD of hosts,

for the LORD is good,
for his steadfast love endures forever!” (Jer. 33:10-11)
The LORD is good,
a stronghold in the day of trouble;
he knows those who take refute in him (Nahum 1:7)
– the reason one word can mean both kind and good is because goodness is embodied in kindness
• kindness is one way that goodness is materialized,
• one way goodness expresses itself

Kindness is the fruit that grows from a compassionate heart

Jesus qualified forgiveness by saying, forgive from the heart
– that is where kindness originates
• but it does not stay there
◦ it is possible to feel pity for someone and do nothing
• when we read that Jesus was moved with compassion,
◦ the movement itself was kindness
– kindness engages our bodies,
• it requires the use of our hands and feet, our listening and speaking
• and, because kindness is what we do with our bodies,
◦ it works within us even though we are showing kindness to someone else
◦ it works God’s love deeper into our organs, muscle, tissues, and bones
• even children know the inner experience of being kind

The Greek word is given interesting meanings in New Testament

Once, when Paul was at sea and the ship was battered by a storm,
– fearing it would be torn apart,
• the sailors passed ropes under the hull and tightened with winches
◦ Luke says,
. . . they used supports to undergird the ship (Acts 27:17)
◦ here the word for kindness is translated “supports”
• kindness can be a form of support – it holds things together
– then there is Jesus’ famous invitation in Matthew 11
Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light (Mt. 11:28-30)
• in this instance, the word for kindness is translated “easy”
• to show kindness is to assist someone one with their burden
◦ to ease the load they carry
◦ by showing kindness, we make a person’s struggle or suffering easier

I don’t want to sell you on the health benefits of being kind

You can find that information online
– I would recommend Mayo Clinics “Kickstart Kindness” program
• but I will return to a point I made last week
• at least I tried to make this point
◦ the value of using the virtues spiritual exercises or practice,
◦ is that they free our minds of worldly obsessions,
and help us to become more aware of God’s presence
• this is what Paul is getting at with this list and why it follows,
. . . seek the things that are above, where Christ is . . . . Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth (Col. 3:2)
– when we perform a kind action, we move out of ourselves
• what happens when I move out of myself with awareness?
◦ I awaken to a larger reality
• not just the reality of other people and their suffering
◦ but the dimensions of God’s love, God’s kindness, God’s Spirit
◦ I also discover a “me” that is greater than my old self (v. 9)

Some of us question our usefulness to God
– maybe we don’t feel like we know the Bible well enough
• that we don’t have enough training to be good representatives of Jesus
◦ we have weakness that we imagine will hold us back
• or perhaps we’ve done things we’re now ashamed of,
◦ so we assume God wants to use someone more righteous
– but the thing about kindness is that weakness and failure do not disqualify us
• in fact, it is just the opposite; they make us more credible
◦ a favorite line from Luke refers to a paralytic that Jesus healed
he rose up . . and picked up what he had been lying on and went home (Lk. 5:25)
◦ he carried home the stretcher that had carried him
• what had been our dependencies and addictions
◦ are now sources of wisdom, empathy, and strength
◦ not only can we handle our own stuff, but we can help others with their stuff

Conclusion: Yesterday afternoon, I took Kona for a walk

I kept repeating the word “kindness” in my mind
It occurred to me that I was seeing others in a different way
I had a different sort of feeling about each person I saw
It seemed like I was prepared and primed for an opportunity

I realized that’s the life I want to live–
and I hope it’s the life you want to live
Try it this week,
put the word kindness somewhere that you will see it,
think of kindness, repeating the word in your mind
and see if that doesn’t enlarge your perspective and open your heart

Leave a comment