You may have heard about random acts of kindness. If not, simple internet research would reveal that it has become a movement. There’s even a Random Acts of Kindness Day. There are hundreds, if not thousands, of ideas for things you can do as an act of kindness. But today we’re going to focus on kindness in the Bible: what it means and the ability of kindness to transform lives.
What is Kindness?
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The Oxford Dictionary defines kindness as the quality of being friendly, generous, and considerate.
These all sound like good things. Everyone can use a friend and generosity and consideration benefit everyone. But the Bible takes the idea of kindness a little further.
Definition of kindness in the Bible
As you may imagine, the Bible has much to say about kindness. For this discussion of kindness in the Bible, we’re going to focus on two verses:
A man who is kind benefits himself, but a cruel man hurts himself (Proverbs 11:17 ESV).
Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you (Ephesians 4:32 ESV).
The word translated as kind in Proverbs 11 is the Hebrew word cheçed, (pronounced kheh’-sed). Cheçed could also have been translated as lovingkindness, merciful, mercy, or pity.
We see an example of cheçed in Exodus 34:7:
And the LORD passed by before him, and proclaimed, The LORD, The LORD God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness H2617 and truth, (KJV).
The word translated as kind in Ephesians 4 is the Greek word chrēstós, (pronounced khrase-tos’). Chrēstós could also have been translated as easy, good, goodness, or gracious. We see an example of chrēstós in Matthew 11:30 when Jesus says,
For my yoke is easy, G5543 and my burden is light (KJV).
As you can see, kindness in the Bible is more than being nice. It involves compassion and being able to love others as God loves us.
The Importance of Kindness in Our Lives
God created us to be in community with each other. That means we will constantly depend on others to care for us and assist us in our time of need.
You may have found that on a bad day, a kind word or a smile was enough to lift your spirit. Or you may have learned that showing kindness to others also benefits you.
You are calmer and happier when you practice kindness. Studies have shown that there are benefits to practicing kindness. Kindness can improve our mental health, reduce our stress levels, and help with anxiety and depression, among other things.
An Example of Kindness in the Bible
One of my favorite examples of kindness in the Bible is the little boy with five loaves and two fishes. I find it amazing that among the press of people who followed Jesus that day, that was the only food the disciples had detected.
Could it be that there were people who hid their food because they didn’t want to share? After all, what was their measly offering among such a large crowd?
Maybe some persons had brought their food but had already eaten by the time the disciples began surveying the crowd.
The Bible doesn’t say. What we do know is that one little boy willingly shared his lunch. He didn’t know that Jesus was going to multiply the food so that everyone could eat their fill. All he knew was that Jesus needed his lunch, and he offered it up freely.
How many of us would have voluntarily given up our lunch?
This idea that simple acts of kindness can have a tremendous impact lingered as I read The Maid of Ballymacool by Jennifer Deibel.
Brianna lived an existence similar to that of Cinderella—filled with chores and hardship. The woman who had taken her in as a baby refused to show her even an ounce of kindness. In contrast, Michael Wray was kind even though the class structure of the time dictated otherwise.
The Maid of Ballymacool Review
I admired Brianna’s character. She endured grueling hardship under Magee’s hand, but could still maintain her sweetness and kindness. Still found things to praise God for. We can learn many things from Brianna.
Michael was the perfect “prince” for Brianna—a member of the ancestry class whose kindness rivaled her own. I liked how he saw her when Magee did everything possible to make it seem as if she was invisible.
Michael’s kindness offset Magee’s cruelty. His kindness gave her the courage to begin to fight for herself and regain some of the autonomy that Magee had taken.
The romance between Brianna and Michael was slow and sweet for many reasons. And I liked how he became her friend before any romance began.
The Maid of Ballymacool will remind readers that God has a plan and purpose for their lives and that it’s important to find their identity in the right place. We do not discard this identity when we suffer mercilessly at the hands of those who cannot show kindness, rather, hardship is an opportunity to flourish.
The Maid of Ballymacool First Line
“The slap had hit its mark, leaving a burning outline Brianna was certain showed perfectly on her cheek.” – The Maid of Ballymacool, Jennifer Deibel
I almost felt the impact of this slap, it was so sharp. This was the perfect segue into a Cinderella retelling.
I received an advanced reader’s copy from the publisher through the Revell Reads program and NetGalley; a positive review was not required.
About The Maid of Ballymacool
Brianna Kelly was abandoned at Ballymacool House and Boarding School as an infant. She has worked there since she was a wee girl and will likely die there. Despite a sense that she was made for something more, Brianna feels powerless to change her situation, so she consoles herself by exploring the Ballymacool grounds, looking for hidden treasures to add to the secret trove beneath the floorboards of her room.
When Michael Wray, the son of local gentry, is sent to Ballymacool to deal with his unruly cousin, he finds himself drawn to Brianna, immediately and inescapably. There is something about her that feels so . . . familiar. When Brianna finds a piece of silver in the woods, she commits to learning its origins, with the help of Michael. What they discover may change everything.
Fan favorite Jennifer Deibel invites you back to the Emerald Isle in the 1930s for this fresh take on the Cinderella story, complete with a tantalizing mystery, a budding romance, and a chance at redemption.
Purchase The Maid of Ballymacool Amazon | Christianbook
About Jennifer Deibel
Jennifer Deibel is a middle school teacher and freelance writer. Her work has appeared on (in)courage, on The Better Mom, in Missions Mosaic Magazine, and others. With firsthand immersive experience abroad, Jennifer writes stories that help redefine home through the lens of culture, history, and family. After nearly a decade of living in Ireland and Austria, she now lives in Arizona.
The Role of Kindness in the Christian Faith
As Christians, kindness should be our default mode rather than something we practice once a year. As we seek to emulate Christ, it becomes easier for us to be kind to one another.
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