And the Lord's servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, 2 Timothy 2:24 ESV
The greatest commandment is to love the Lord our God with all our heart, soul, and mind, as it says in Matthew 22:37. The second greatest commandment in Matthew 22:39 says that you shall love your neighbor as yourself. To love someone is to treat them with kindness. Therefore we are commanded to treat others with kindness, to teach others this kindness, and to endure the evil our enemies throw at us with patience and kindness. Kindness is reflected through scripture throughout the bible. Gods kindness towards us is what we should reflect towards others. He loved us and showed us kindness even while we were still His enemies! How can we not love others this way when the God who saved us commands us to do so? I'm going to share with y'all some of the things I've learned that have helped me to treat everyone with kindness.
And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.” Matthew 22:37-40 ESV
Make God Your First Priority. If He isn't your first priority you're not going to be able to love others properly. Loving other's requires knowing who Love is and Love is God and God is Love! When you make God your first priority you are making love your first priority. The greatest commandments we were given are based on love. We need a good understanding of love to show kindness to everyone we encounter. Love, according to Webster's dictionary, is the unselfish, loyal, and benevolent concern for the good of another. This is how God loves us. This is how we should love others. A good way to make God your first priority is to make a conscious effort to spend time alone with Him. You can do this by scheduling a daily quiet time where you read the Bible, a devotional, and/or journal about the Word or your prayers. Another way to make an effort to have God as your first priority is to choose to keep your thoughts Christ centered. Listen to God honoring music or podcasts, watch God honoring TV or movies, and read God honoring books. These things will keep your mind Christ focused and help keep you from falling into sinful thinking. When we keep our minds Christ focused it's much easier to love and show kindness to our neighbors, even the ones we aren't particularly fond of!
We create our own heartbreaks through expectations ~ Anonymous
Lessen Your Expectations of Others. When we hold others to our expectations we are bound to be hurt. We can't expect someone to live up to an expectation that they don't even know they're being held to. When we don't hold others to set expectations then there is no room to be hurt by others not meeting them. I look at expectations more as limitations. If people don't meet them then you're limiting what their success can look like in your eyes. We should look to teach and not expect. We shouldn't expect kids to inherently know how to behave and treat others with kindness; we should teach them. When we see fellow Christians behaving in a way that isn't in line with Gods Word we should lovingly guide them to truth. When we don't have expectations there is less chance we will feel disappointment, which leads to a strain on practicing kindness.
"None are more unjust in their judgments of others than those who have a high opinion of themselves." - Charles Spurgeon
Judge Others Less. There is a difference between Christlike judgment and the judging that most of the human race does. Christlike judgment is quick to believe innocence and slow to pronounce judgement. God warns us not to judge unless we are prepared to be judged ourselves. This doesn't mean all judging is wrong, the Bible instructs us to judge fellow Christians in 1 Corinthians 5:12. However we need to be careful in how we do this for we don't want to be judged harshly ourselves. We need to make sure we have taken the log out of our own eye before we alert our fellow Christian of the speck in their eye. It is best not to judge at all when we aren't sure if we have a log in our own eye. We must truly realize though that we are not to judge non Christians actions by the Bibles standards. To hold them to standards they don't believe in is ridiculous. As Christian's we wouldn't want to be held to the standards of another religion, so why should we hold non Christians to the standards of God? So practice kindness towards non Christians and Christians alike. This kindness will look different for each but similar in that we practice love towards both.
Practice kindness wherever you go. Sprinkle it like confetti. Confetti sticks to everything and so does kindness! A kind word can help someone make it through a tough day and an unkind word can ruin a perfectly good day. Make your words count. Speak with love and kindness. Make it a point to leave everyone a little better off than you found them.
What is your favorite way to practice kindness to people you know? What about your enemies or strangers? Let me know in the comments below!