Dear Beloved Ones in Yeshua,
Have you noticed that there has been an increasing emphasis in the secular world on kindness?
The January Parade magazine in our local newspaper in Fort Lauderdale had a feature article titled
“Let’s Make 2017 the Year of Being Kind.” There was even a quote by Lady Gaga, “Kindness is
showing love to someone else. I believe that kindness is the cure to violence and hatred around the
world.” The Random Acts of Kindness Foundation proposed a 2017 challenge: Start a new tradition
of writing 52 thank-you notes—one a week to a different person for a year—since gratitude has been
proven to boost happiness and well-being. “Catching Kindness” cards can be purchased, and there are
free downloadable lesson plans and other kindness resources for teachers at randomactsofkindness.org.
Why such an emphasis on kindness? The Parade article said, “Seems like we’re in a bit of a
kindness crisis these days.” Yes, we are. Social media is a prime example. Civility of speech has been
eclipsed by unkind, hateful, nasty, derogatory diatribes that pollute the Internet. A poll by Kindness
USA showed that only 25% of Americans believe we are living in a kind society. More than half stated
that kindness has deteriorated in the past 10 years. And politics? The lack of kindness in our election
process is beyond appalling. Less kindness in public life has been said to lead to less kindness in
There are amazing people who have taken a stand for kindness in our society. One such person is
Daniel Lubetzky, founder of Peace Works, KIND Healthy Snacks and the KIND Foundation. Kindness
is why Daniel is alive today. His grandfather, on the brink of execution by the Nazis in Lithuania, was
saved by the janitor of his building. The reason? Kindness. The janitor said, “I let you live because
you would talk to me like a decent person.” Daniel Lubetzky believes that kindness has the power to
change the world.
The Hebrew word for kind is [לטוב] l’tov, pronounced l’TOEV. Tov is also the word for “good”
in Hebrew. The Hebrew word for kindness is chesed, [חסד] pronounced KHEH-said, which literally
means “covenant loyalty.” This implies a definite spiritual component of kindness, directly connected to
God and to love. Chesed is a common Hebrew word for love, lovingkindness and compassion.
God is Kind, and God is Love. The people of God should be the kindest people on earth. What
a challenge! While many see the God of the Old Testament as a God of anger and wrath, we see a
God of kindness. King Solomon commented on God’s kindness as follows: “You have shown great
mercy to Your servant David my father, because he walked before You in truth, in righteousness, and
in uprightness of heart with You; You have continued this great kindness חסד for him, and You have
given him a son to sit on his throne, as it is this day” (1 Kings 3:6).
King David, Solomon’s father, said of God’s kindness, “For His merciful kindness חסדו is great
towards us, and the truth of the LORD endures forever. Praise the LORD!” (Psalm 117:2).
God, in calling Israel back to Himself in repentance, reveals His true nature: “Return to the LORD
your God, for He is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness [ורב חסד] [v’rab
che-sed]…” (Joel 2:13). Again, in declaring Himself to be Israel’s husband, the Lord says, “With a little
wrath I hid My face from you for a moment; but with everlasting kindness [ובחסד עולם] I will have
mercy on you…” (Isaiah 54:8).
Kindness in the Tanach
There are many examples of kindness in the Old Covenant Scriptures. Rebekah, the first Jewish
bride, was a direct answer to the prayer of Abraham’s servant, who was sent out to find a bride for
Abraham’s son Isaac. Her act of kindness in offering water not only to Eliezer the servant, but also to
his 10 camels, has given her the reputation in traditional Judaism as the ideal wife. Strong and kind—
even to animals (Genesis 24:14-20).
The kindness of Joseph stands out as a supreme example of seeking the welfare of others, not
seeking revenge. Forgiving and blessing. He was kind to his brothers who, because of jealousy, threw
him into a pit and sold him into Egyptian slavery. He was kind to a jailer and his fellow prisoners. He
continued to be kind, even though when he asked for a kindness for himself, it was denied him. “But
remember me when it is well with you, and please show kindness [חסד] to me; make mention of me
to Pharaoh, and get me out of this house” (Genesis 40:14). We do not always reap kindness where we
sow it! But God. He sees every kind act, and His kindness is poured out on us, as it was with Joseph.
Rahab, the prostitute, was kind to the Israelite spies, hiding them when they came to spy out
Jericho. Rahab had come to believe that the God of Israel was the one true God, the God in heaven
above and on earth beneath. She said to the spies, “Now therefore, I beg you, swear to me by the
LORD, since I have shown you kindness [חסד], that you also will show kindness [חסד] to my father’s
house…” (Joshua 2:12). They did.
In the Book of Ruth, both Boaz and Ruth showed kindness. Naomi, in speaking about Boaz, said
to Ruth, “Blessed is he of the LORD, who has not forsaken His kindness [חסדו] to the living and the
dead!” (Ruth 2:20). When Ruth asked Boaz to take her under his wing (marry her), Boaz responded,
“Blessed are you of the LORD, my daughter! For you have shown more kindness [חסדך] at the end
than at the beginning, in that you did not go after young men, whether poor or rich” (Ruth 3:10).
Finally, there is much kindness seen in the lives of David and Jonathan. Their mutual kindness
exemplifies the idea of covenant loyalty. When Jonathan made a covenant with the house of David
(“for he loved him as he loved his own soul“) he said to David, “And you shall not only show me the
kindness [חסד] of the LORD, while I still live, that I may not die, but you shall not cut off your kindness
[חסדך] from my house forever, no, not when the LORD has cut off every one of the enemies of David
from the face of the earth” (1 Samuel 20:14-15). What about David’s kindness? “Now David said, ‘Is
there still anyone who is left of the house of Saul, that I may show him kindness [חסד] for Jonathan’s
sake?‘” (2 Samuel 9:1). David later asks a servant of Saul’s house the same question, but he now says
that he wants to show “the kindness of God” 2) [חסד א הְים] Samuel 9:3). David did just that. He
restored to Mephibosheth, Jonathan’s lame son, all the land of his grandfather, Saul, and gave him a
place at his table for his lifetime. Kindness. (2 Samuel 9:7)
Kindness in Sending a Kind Messiah
Mankind has had a problem since the Garden of Eden: SIN! God had the solution, but no one
forced Him to send His only Son into a fallen world, to live among sinners and then die on their behalf.
It was kindness and love that compelled Him to make such a supreme sacrifice.
In the Book of Titus, God’s kindness in sending Yeshua into the world is mentioned. Believers are
reminded to be obedient, ready for every good work, to speak evil of no one, to be peaceable, and
to show humility to all men. “For we ourselves were also once foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving
various lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful and hating one another. But when the
kindness and the love of God our Savior toward man appeared, not by works of righteousness which
we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us…” (Titus 3:3-5).
Yeshua walked in kindness all His days on earth. He was kind to everyone, especially the poor,
the sick, the despised, little children, and women. He was also kind to Gentiles at a time when Jews
had nothing to do with them. Consider Yeshua’s kindness in dealing with the Samaritan woman at the
well (John 4) and His praise of the Roman centurion for his faith (Matthew 8).
Love Is Kind
“Love suffers long and is kind” (1 Corinthians 13:4). God is Love. Love is kind. God is Kind.
Yeshua is Love. Love is kind. Yeshua is Kind. The more love we have, the more kindness we have,
and the more like God we become. That should be our goal.
Kindness is a fruit of the Holy Spirit, the Ruach HaKodesh (ROO-akh ha KO-desh). “But the fruit
of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self control”
(Galatians 5:22-23). As we abide in Yeshua, the True Vine, we bear the fruit of His Spirit in all
its forms, kindness being one of them.
The Brit Hadasha includes numerous exhortations for believers in Messiah to show kindness in
dealing with others. We are told that if we have brotherly kindness and love, we will not be barren nor
unfruitful in our knowledge of the Messiah (2 Peter 1:7-8). Kindness is emphasized in other verses as
well: “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” (Luke 6:35).
“And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Messiah forgave
you” (Ephesians 4:32). Finally, kindness is something we can “put on.” We can make a decision to be
kind. “Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility,
meekness, long-suffering; bearing with one another, and forgiving one another…” (Colossians 3:12-13).
Kindness in Marriage
When we googled the word “kindness” on our computer, we found a fascinating article in The
Atlantic about kindness in marriage, “Masters of Love.” Since June is the most popular wedding
month of the year, and since the Lord has been speaking to us about kindness, we were intrigued
by the connection. After reading the article, we are convinced that if the approximately 13,000
American couples who say “I do” this month would practice kindness, the divorce rate would decrease
substantially. There would also be far fewer marriages that devolve into bitterness and dysfunction.
Psychologist John Gottman, along with his wife, Julie, spent four decades researching marriage
to figure out what makes relationships work. The findings are eye-opening and worthy of acting upon.
Kindness, they found, glues couples together. Research by the Gottmans and others consistently
shows that kindness is the most important predictor of satisfaction and stability in a marriage.
“Kindness makes each partner feel cared for, understood, and validated—feel loved. There’s a
great deal of evidence showing the more someone receives or witnesses kindness, the more they will
be kind themselves, which leads to upward spirals of love and generosity in a relationship.”
The participants in the Gottman study thought about kindness in one of two ways, as a fixed trait
(you either have it or you don’t), or as a muscle (that you can grow with exercise). The people in the
successful marriages tended to think about kindness as a muscle. They knew that a good relationship
requires sustained hard work.
It was found that kindness in marriage involved responding to a partner’s need with a generous
spirit, even when tired, stressed, or distracted. Neglecting small moments of emotional connection
proved to wear away at a relationship. As the Gottmans express it, “Neglect creates distance between
partners and breeds resentment in the one who is being ignored.” They also concluded that the most
important time to be kind is during a fight. “Kindness doesn’t mean that we don’t express our anger,”
Julie Gottman explained, “but kindness informs how we choose to express the anger. You can throw
spears at your partner. Or you can explain why you’re hurt and angry, and that’s the kinder path.”
Practicing kindness in marriage also includes small acts of generosity, being generous about
a partner’s intentions (thinking the best), and rejoicing and sharing the joys of one’s spouse (e.g., a
promotion at work). Research shows that being there for each other when things go right is actually
more important for relationship quality than being there for them when the going is rough! In other
words, responding positively, enthusiastically, with interest, and truly sharing the joy of a marriage
partner allows the partner to savor his or her joy and gives the couple an opportunity to bond over the
good news. This is the kind response that results in greater intimacy between partners.
May the Lord help every married couple who reads this letter decide to be kinder to their spouse,
beginning this month. And may each of us make kindness a goal in all of our relationships. If we, as
God’s children, are kind, we will make the world a better place. We will, in fact, be the salt of the earth!
The Greatest Commandment
When Yeshua was challenged concerning which was the greatest commandment (Matthew
22:36), He responded with two sections from the Hebrew Scriptures. The first is known as the
V’Ahavta [ואהבת] and is part of the synagogue liturgy on every Shabbat. It begins with, “You shall
love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength” (Deuteronomy
6:5). He went on to say, “And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself‘” (Matthew
22:39; Leviticus 19:18).
We are convinced that He included the second part as a test for the truth of the first part. What we
feel He was saying was: It is easy to say “I love God,” but I’ll know if you really do when I see how you
treat your neighbor. If you agree, think about who your closest neighbor is. The one you are married
to? The one you work with every day? The one you are in class with? The one who lives next door to
you? Loving one’s neighbor involves kindness. It is treating others as you want to be treated. This has
come to be known as “The Golden Rule,” but it could also be called “The Rule of Kindness.”
Deciding for kindness, in Yeshua’s Love,
P.S. If you are an employer, take the wise advice of King Rehoboam’s elders: “If you are kind to
these people, and please them, and speak good words to them, they will be your servants forever” (2
Chronicles 10:7). Rehoboam didn’t take this advice, and it eventually cost him his kingdom.