He has told you, O man, what is good;
And what does the Lord require of you
But to do justice, to love kindness,
And to walk humbly with your God?
As the second post on this verse, today we look at the phrase “to love kindness”. In several translations of this passage, the word kindness is translated as mercy. The meaning of the Hebrew word for kindness is goodness or kindness. Mercy comes close to describing the depth of the kindness Micah is referring to here because to love kindness goes deeper than the nice words or actions we often associate with kindness.
Seth Godin, in his blog (www.seths.blog) on January 18, 2021 shared three different types of kindness. His approach to this concept reflects the Biblical meaning of the word kindness.
“There is the kindness of ‘please’ and ‘thank you.’ And the kindness of “I was wrong, I’m sorry.” The small kindnesses that smooth our interactions and help other people feel as though you’re aware of them.
And then there is the kindness of dignity. Of giving someone the benefit of the doubt. The kindness of seeing someone for the person that they are and can become, and the realization that everyone, including me and you, has a noise in our heads, a story to be told, fear to be danced with and dreams to be realized.
And there’s another: The kindness of not seeking to maximize short-term personal gain. The kindness of building something for the community, of doing work that matters, of finding a resilient, anti-selfish path forward.”
Biblically, The Apostle Paul lists kindness as one of the fruits of the Spirit in Galatians 5.
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness.” (Galatians 5:22)
Kindness being a fruit of the Spirit confirms the deeper meaning. Kindness is more than the random acts of giving, paying it forward, texting nice words, or offering a seat on a bus or train. Biblical kindness that the Lord requires of us comes from a deep place of the soul. It is born out of love and compassion as a fruit of walking with the Lord.
Some translations use the word goodness in Galatians 5:22, suggesting the quality of being morally good, holy, and pure. Biblical kindness is so much more than the standard American definition of being friendly, generous, and considerate.
Biblical kindness is mercy and goodness motivating us to be friendly, generous, and considerate.
Biblical kindness is compassion and mercy moved to action. To love kindness as Micah writes is both love and kindness in action. It is living a life motivated by compassion, goodness, mercy, and excellence.
How do we go about living a life with so much more kindness? Micah gives us the answer in the last phrase of Micah 6:8: by walking humbly with God. The Apostle Paul answers this question when he refers to both kindness and goodness as the fruit we bear when we live in the Presence of the Spirit.
Spend time with the Lord, ask Him for His heart for the world around you, abide in Him and you will bear the fruit of kindness to those around you.
As Seth Godin concludes in his blog post,
“Kindness multiplies and it enables possibility. When we’re of service to people, we have the chance to make things better.”
That my friends is what the Lord requires of you. To walk so closely with Him that HIS kindness overflows through you and you bear the fruit of kindness in your words and deeds.
ARTWORK: “Kindness Like Rain” 12” x 24” Commissioned Work, 2019