The quality of being friendly, generous, and considerate
Kindness comes in different packages. Kindness is an unexpected note in the mail that encourages our hearts. Kindness is a thoughtful gesture to an undeserved soul. Kindness is a thoughtful gesture at an unexpected time. Kindness is a knowing look from across the room. Kindness is a tenderness during a difficult time. Kindness is bearing another’s burden with them. Kindness is empathy. Kindness is looking for the needs in others and meeting those needs. Kindness is love put into action.
In the midst of a difficult time, nothing is more meaningful than a kind word or thoughtful gesture that brings encouragement to the soul. The Proverbs 31 woman is known for her kindness. “She opens her hand to the poor and reaches out her hands to the needy.” (Proverbs 31:20). This woman is looking for ways to help people. Not only is it seen in her actions, it is also seen in her words. “She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.” (Proverbs 31:26). She is wise and uses this wisdom to teach others and encourage others with kindness. Because of her wisdom, she knows what another needs to hear to be encouraged or what another needs to receive to be encouraged. She is intuitive. “Her husband is known in the gates…” (Proverbs 31:23). If this Proverbs 31 lady was unkind with her actions and harsh words came from her mouth, it would stain the reputation of her husband and he would not hold a position of honor among those at the gate.
The final compliment to the Proverbs 31 woman’s character is verse 28. “Her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her.” How we are at home is a true indicator of who we really are. Most of us are good at putting our masks on outside the four walls of our homes, but what goes on within is a test of true character. The fact that her children and her husband blessed and praised her is a true indication that her kindness in word and deeds was not for show but was her genuine character. Our true character shines through when no one is watching.
One of my favorite stories of kindness happened a few years ago. A friend of mine lost her husband. The loss of a loved one is always difficult during those first holidays. Christmas was fast approaching and the loneliness of a Christmas without her spouse was going to be difficult. One evening about 12 days before Christmas, some young men whom she did not know knocked on her door carrying gifts. They came in and set down the gifts in her living and handed her an envelope and left. The letter told her to open one gift each day for the next twelve days. The gifts were not extravagant, but they were such an encouragement to her to know someone cared so much about her and her loneliness to provide a little light each day during the Christmas season. She never did find out who gave the gifts, but that first Christmas without her husband was so much brighter because of someone’s kindness.
“As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he…” (Proverbs 23:7). What is in our hearts comes out through our mouths and our lives. We have a choice every day. Will you be known for “the teaching of kindness on your tongue?” (Proverbs 31:26).