Hi this is pastor Ken thanks for joining me for my Monday Marriage Message…Love is kind
Last week I began to define the characteristics of agape love as stated in ‘The Love Chapter’ otherwise known as 1 Corinthians chapter 13. In the past two editions of my podcast I laid much of the groundwork for this journey of understanding about love that we will be on for the first quarter of this year. If you have not listened to those two podcasts; Love Does…Love Does Not and Love Is Patient, I would suggest listening to those prior to this one to gain a fuller understanding. If you tuned in for those then I am glad you have chosen to move forward along with me.
The next attribute of agape love listed in 1 Corinthians 13:4 is this…Love is kind. As I did last week I will look to the dictionary to define the word kind. I know we all have a pretty good handle on the meaning but this is what Webster’s has to say.
Kind as an adverb; 1: of a sympathetic or helpful nature, 2: of a forbearing nature, 3: arising from or characterized by sympathy or forbearance, 4: of a kind to give pleasure or relief.
Utilizing this definition, love is sympathetic to someone else’s situation and desires to be helpful if at all possible. Love has a forbearing nature…it is patient with others (we covered that last week). Love according to the dictionary arises from or is characterized by sympathy or forbearance. This is one that the Webster’s actually got more right than I think they know…more about that in a few moments. Love desires to give pleasure or relief, love wants to make whatever is adverse in someone’s life right again.
As I did last week, I also want to look at the original text to define the descriptor ‘kind’. It isn’t because I think we all need to be scholars of the Greek or Hebrew languages, but often the original words or phrase used matters, and as we saw last week it may take more than one English word to accurately translate the original concept. The Greek word used by the Apostle Paul that has been translated to the word ‘kind’ is Chrestos from which we get our word charity. It means to show oneself benevolently useful, or to be helpful by meeting a need. So according to the original term, love attempts to meet a need that exists.
As you full well know, when you look up a word in the dictionary each definition for that particular word offers an example of that meaning. When I looked up the word kind to use for this podcast the first definition: of a sympathetic or helpful nature was followed by the examples; was helped by a kind neighbor and They were very kind to us. So what examples of biblical definition does God’s word offer?
Psalm 119:76 Let, I pray, your merciful kindness be for my comfort, According to Your word to Your servant. Isaiah 54:8 goes on to reinforce this connection between mercy and kindness. But with everlasting kindness I will have mercy on you,” Says the Lord, your Redeemer. In these scriptures among many others we see that mercy is attached to kindness. If according to the word of God love is kind, and mercy is a result of kindness then love too will result in mercy. Loving actions will be merciful actions, loving words will be merciful words.
Joel 2:13 So rend your heart, and not your garments; Return to the Lord your God, For He is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness; And He relents from doing harm. In this example we see three more descriptors associated with God’s brand of kindness. Along with mercy we also see graciousness, being slow to anger and relenting from doing harm. Again if love is kind as described in 1 Corinthians 13 then love is; merciful, gracious, slow to anger and does not cause harm.
In Luke 6:35 Jesus said, But love your enemies, do good, and lend, hoping for nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High. For He is kind to the unthankful and evil. From this biblical example we see that God shows kindness to those who are ungrateful and evil. We can take from this that kindness (love) should be extended to those that people might look at and say are undeserving of that loving kindness. If we are to let our love be Agape love or godly love, it must be extended to the deserving and the undeserving alike.
Romans 12:10 Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another; in this example we see that loving kindness will prefer another over self. Preference is not deference. Deference simply means to give in to another. Giving preference to someone over yourself is to desire them to have their way so that you can take joy in their joy. It is what we get to experience when we allow a child to win a game or a race or some other competition that we could have easily won.
There are many other examples from God’s word that describe kindness as it pertains to love but I will conclude with these two. Ephesians 4:32 says: And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you. Additionally, Colossians 3:12-14 reads as follows, 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.But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection. The first scripture adds to the list of what kindness looks like. It is tender hearted and causes one to desire to forgive. The second of these two reiterates the above and adds to it several other characteristics of love that are almost verbatim found in 1 Corinthians 13.
Love is kind, kindness is merciful, slow to anger and chooses to do no harm. Kindness is gracious and affectionate and prefers others above self. Kindness is tenderhearted and forgives freely. Kindness extends to the worthy and the unworthy. Kindness is all of these things and more…and love is kind.
Remember I said we would get back to that third definition of love from Webster’s Dictionary? I said they were actually probably more correct with this definition than they realized. Their definition says: arising from or characterized by sympathy or forbearance. Love is action, not emotion. Each of the characteristics we look at from 1 Corinthians 13 will be actionable. Culturally however, we tend to think of love as an emotion. We have also been conditioned by novels, poetry, songs and movies to think that the emotion we call love will bring about action we would identify as loving. However, Webster’s actually got it right…kindness (an attribute of love) arisesfromor is characterized by loving action. In truth, and as God’s word validates…the emotion we identify as love is the result of loving action…not the other way around.
Questions to answer:
Is kindness as described above something you find easy or difficult for you in your marriage?
What attributes of loving kindness are easiest for you, what things are more difficult for you to display?
Which characteristics of kindness do you wish were more prevalent in your marriage?
Actions to take:
Identify ways discussed above that you find your spouse to be kind in their interactions with you.
Thank them for the ways that they treat you that you find to be especially kind.
Pray that God would help you to each recognize opportunities to express your love for one another through kindness.
So now, making the most of every opportunity to reflect the loving kindness your Heavenly Father has shown you, in your spouse’s direction…go be awesome!