God's truth for today's world

Today, our message series is called “Growing a Godly Family.” The family is the foundation of society. A society where families are growing in godliness will be blessed and prosperous. Of course, the opposite is true as well. Even when godly families are the minority in society, they will be blessed as they follow God.

So, today, we’re going to talk about how to “Develop Family Kindness.” In this message, we’re going to look at three areas in which God desires us to grow in kindness. First, we’ll look at our immediate physical families. Then we’ll look at the church family and finally, we’ll look at growing in kindness to everyone else.

So, in order to talk about kindness, we need to define what kindness is. Defining kindness isn’t the easiest thing in the world. When we get past the dictionary definition of kindness as the quality of being kind, we find quite a few definitions. The definition that I believe captures the essence of what the Bible means by kindness is as follows. Kindness is the quality of being gentle, caring and helpful.

Let’s briefly look at this three descriptions of kindness. Being caring is the attitude of having compassion for the needs of others. Being helpful is taking action to help meet the needs of others. Finally, being gentle is the manner in which a kind person takes action. So, let’s begin to look at what the Bible, God’s Word has to say about kindness.

Proverbs 11:17 (ESV)  A man who is kind benefits himself, but a cruel man hurts himself.

In this verse, we see that the opposite of being kind is being cruel. Cruelty is not caring about others, is not helping others and is harsh in dealing with others. Kindness brings benefit to oneself as well as others, whereas cruelty hurts oneself, as well as others.

Luke 6:35-36 (ESV)  But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, for he is kind to the ungrateful and the evil.

Here Jesus explains to us that God is kind, not just to those who are His children, but even to those who are evil. As believers and God’s children, we are to imitate our Father, loving even our enemies by being kind to them.

2 Peter 1:7 (NASB)  and in your godliness, [supply] brotherly kindness, …

Even as godly people, we need to learn and develop kindness in all of our relationships. Why? Because that’s what God is like and He commands us to do the same.

Be kind in your family

1 Corinthians 13:4a (ESV)  Love is patient and kind;

Of course, kindness is part of showing love. The family is where God trains us to become more and more like Jesus in our attitudes. Kindness needs to be shown in the relationship between spouses. Being kind needs to be shown between parents and children. Kindness needs to be shown between children. In this verse, we see that kindness and patience are related. We are often tempted to be unkind when we grow impatient with someone else. Either they have taken too long to do something or they have done something we consider to be wrong. Kindness is showing patient concern for the others in your family. It is vitally important for …

Mothers learn kindness

Titus 2:4-5 (ESV)  … train the young women to love their husbands and children,  to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled.

Here again we see that being kind in your family is part of love. Young mothers are to be trained by older women to be kind in their homes. How does this training occur? One way is through our quarterly Women’s Ministry meeting. There you can learn from spiritually mature mothers, such as my wife Carol. Young mothers should seek out relationships with older mothers to learn from them.

What have we learned is the opposite of being kind? It is being harsh or cruel. When a mother is harsh with her children, the children tend not to turn out well and most likely there will be marriage problems if there is unkindness with the spouse. The end result would be that the witness of the family to unbelievers would be compromised. People would say, if this is what being a believer and following God’s Word produces, I don’t want it. Rather, learning and practicing kindness will enhance the witness of the family, leading others to want the same blessing for their families.

Fathers practice kindness

Colossians 3:12-13a (ESV)  Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another …

Kindness is not just for women. Kindness is one of the fruit of the Spirit and is something that every believer must learn to practice. Let’s take a look in this verse at some other qualities that go together with kindness. The first one mentioned here is to have a compassionate heart. A compassionate heart take notice of the needs of others and has compassion concerning those needs.

Fathers sometimes tend to be lacking in compassion, either for their wives or for their children. Fathers sometimes tend to forget that children are children and so tend to act like children, not adults. We need to have compassion on the immaturity of children, it’s part of their growing up. Teaching them kindly the ways of the Lord.

Application

Sometimes we are kinder to people outside our family than people within our own family. Why might that be? One reason is that we let things build up and don’t forgive and forget. In the next verse in this passage, it speaks of forgiveness. We really should show the greatest kindness to those we are closest to and have the greatest responsibility for. That is our immediate family. Make a decision to grow in kindness and be quick to apologize if you are unkind. Ask God to help you grow in kindness within your own family. Next, we ought to …

Be kind in our church family

Micah 6:8 (ESV)  He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?

Our next level of responsibility after our immediate family is our church family. The Bible speaks of other believers in our local church family as being our brothers and sisters. This verse tells us that the Lord requires believers to love kindness. That which we love, we seek to grow in. How is kindness expressed in a church family? Let’s look at two ways.

Be kind in forgiving one another

Ephesians 4:32 (ESV)  Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.

Notice that in the commands in this verse are directed for us to do to one another. One another specifically refers to your brothers and sisters in your church family. We are to be kind and tenderhearted toward others in the church family. A kind and tender heart is one that cares about and has compassion for others. In particular, this verse stressed that kindness is expressed through forgiving one another. When someone hurts you or does something you don’t agree with or understand, don’t go talk to someone else about it. That’s gossip. Rather be kind. If it’s a small issue, just forgive them in your heart and carry on. Love overlooks a multitude of faults.

If it’s a bigger issue, go to the person and talk it through. Oftentimes, hurts are because of misunderstandings. Forgive the other brother or sister, don’t hold a grudge. Sometimes people are not kind and forgiving when there is an issue with someone else in the church. They simply leave their church family without expressing kindness or forgiveness. When you don’t follow God’s Word, you are out of His will, His blessing and His protection. So, be kind in forgiving one another.

Be kind in encouraging one another

Hebrews 10:24-25 (ESV)  And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works,  not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.

Kindness in the church family involves encouraging others to love God more and to serve Him more. One of the ways that you encourage others in the church family is by being consistent in attending church and small group meetings. Being with your church family should be one of your highest priorities. It is not being kind to your brothers and sisters when you neglect meeting together for trivial reasons. Be kind in encouraging one another.

Application

One of the concepts that we probably don’t stress enough is that the church is your spiritual family. The other believers in the church are your brothers and sisters. These are not just words, they are spiritual reality. You will spend eternity with the people in your local church family. Only if your physical family members are believers will you spend eternity with them. Since the other believers in the church family are your brothers and sisters, you need to get to know them.

How? Regularly attending Sunday services and getting involved in all the activities of the church family. Especially getting involved in a Life Group. It’s hard to be kind to someone you don’t know anything about. In order to be kind to someone, you’ve got to know their needs, have compassion towards those needs and then take action to meet those needs. So, let’s see how that can happen, not just in our immediate family, not just in our church family, but toward everyone.

Be kind with everyone

2 Timothy 2:24 (ESV)  And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil,

If you’re a believer, you are the Lord’s servant. In this verse, we learn something else that is not being kind. Being quarrelsome is not being kind. A kind person learns how to patiently teach those who don’t understand God’s Word. We must be kind to everyone that the Lord brings into our lives. Let’s look at an example from Jesus about being kind to a stranger, so that we can learn to …

Have compassion on others

Luke 10:30, 33 (ESV)  Jesus replied, “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and he fell among robbers, who stripped him and beat him and departed, leaving him half dead. … But a Samaritan, as he journeyed, came to where he was, and when he saw him, he had compassion.

In this familiar parable of the Good Samaritan, Jesus tells us that a man was robbed and beaten and left for dead on the road. A number of people passed the wounded man on the road, not thinking it was their problem. They did not show kindness to him. However, a Samaritan, saw the man, as everyone else had, yet he had a different response. Rather than passing the wounded man by, the Samaritan had compassion on him. To have compassion on another is to see their need and be moved to do something about it. You can be moved by someone’s need and still do nothing, but that’s not what happened. When you have compassion on another’s need, you must …

Take care of the needs of others

Luke 10:34 (ESV)  He went to him and bound up his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he set him on his own animal and brought him to an inn and took care of him.

The Samaritan took action. He treated the man’s wound and brought him to an inn and paid for further care. Kindness is not just gentle words, it is shown in actions that meet another’s needs.

Conclusion

Today, we’ve talked about the important fruit of the Spirit, kindness. Kindness is paying attention to others needs, having compassion on them and then taking action to meet those needs. God wants us to learn to express kindness in our own families. We must practice kindness in our church family. Finally, we must show kindness to everyone that God puts into our life. So, this morning, let’s think first of all of those in our immediate family. Is there anyone that you have been unkind or harsh to? If so, ask God to forgive you and to help you be more kind. What about your church family or others in your life? Ask God to help you honor Him by being kind in all of your relationships. Your kindness will open doors for God’s truth and witness to be shared and God will be glorified.

Message Outline & Study Guide

Growing a Godly Family Series

Train Your Children
Grow in Family Love
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