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Kindness Korner

Eight Anonymous Essays about Kindness

Eight essays about kindness are being offered, starting with this one entitled "Growth in Kindliness". I do not know who the author is. Three years ago someone handed me six very old pages that looked as if they had been torn from a book. Or, they were part of a daily devotions wall-hanger. They have been typed for your edification.


We come now to the next fruit of the Spirit – kindliness.
This is a very homely virtue, homely in the British sense of belonging to the home – a very commonplace, ordinary virtue. And yet it is ordinary as salt, and as essential. Without kindliness there is no virtue in the other virtues. It puts a flavor into all the other virtues; without it they are insipid and tasteless; or worse, they degenerate into vices. Love, joy, peace, good temper; without kindliness are very doubtful virtues. So it is no chance that this is the middle virtue of the nine, putting flavor into all the others.

So to grow in kindliness is to grow in virtues that are flavored with a certain spirit. The spirit of kindliness pervades everything. The Old Testament, especially the Psalms, uses the expression "loving-kindness." A little boy explained the difference between kindness and loving-kindness: "Kindness is when your mother gives you a piece of bread and butter, but it is loving-kindness when she puts jam on it as well.

But in the New Testament a content has gone into kindness that made the adding of "loving" unnecessary. We have quoted a passage into which the content of Jesus has gone into the words: "Treat one another with the same spirit as you experience in Christ Jesus" (Phil.2:5, Moffatt). Not merely the same actions, but the same spirit in the actions as was in Jesus. This is the high water of morality in this universe. Beyond this the human race will not, and cannot, progress. This is a character and conduct ultimate. This gives kindness a plus – an infinite plus.

And this saves kindness from mere maudlin sentimentality. It can be very severe – severe because He loves so deeply that He often has to save us by hard refusals. And His kingdom can cut – it can cut when, like a surgeon, He insists on cutting out of us moral tumors and cancers. But always His severity is security. It is redemptive. He loves us too much to let us go.

O Christ, show Your kindness to me this day even if it be a cutting kindness, for I don’t want leniency; I want life. Amen.

AFFIRMATION FOR THE DAY: I want God to be kind to me in the form that my deepest necessities demand.


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