March 09, 2018

Doing Kindness

Genesis 40:12-14, 23; Luke 10:25-37

The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love.

—  Psalm 103:8

In Jesus’ parable, the good Samaritan showed kindness by placing the needs of another person ahead of his own. It may be better to say he “did a kindness” because kindness is more than an attitude or a feeling. The Samaritan used his hands to soothe wounds, lift the beaten man’s body onto his donkey, and pay out hard cash for recuperation at the inn.

Keeping a promise to be kind can be costly, and failing to keep such a promise can be hurtful. A fellow prisoner forgot Joseph’s request to be kind to him. We aren’t told why he forgot, but the cupbearer’s ­failure to do a kindness left Joseph in prison for two more years.

A Hebrew proverb—“kindness is the beginning and the end of the law”—echoes Psalm 119:149: “Hear my voice in accordance with your love; preserve my life, Lord, according to your laws.” In some versions of the Bible, the word “love” here is translated as “lovingkindness.” That’s beautiful. Because the Lord is kind, his law gives shape to the way of kindness. Did you notice that the Samaritan’s kindness was an example of loving God first and loving his neighbor as himself? That is the heart of God’s law.

Doing kindness also plucks out the envious eye, for it sees the neighbor with the eyes of our Lord, who is slow to anger and full of kindness and love.

You have been kind to me, Lord; help me to act in kindness to others. Give me your eyes to see, that my sight may become whole. In Jesus, Amen.

About the author — Arie C. Leder

Dr. Arie C. Leder is the Martin J. Wyngaarden Senior Professor of Old Testament Studies at Calvin Theological Seminary in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He previously served as pastor at Ebenezer Christian Reformed Church, Trenton, Ontario, and with Christian Reformed World Missions in Latin America. He teaches courses on the Pentateuch and on historical books of the Old Testament.

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