Something that has always puzzled me is why Christians must be reminded to be kind. It seems odd that Bible school students must be reminded to be kind and tip well when they go to local restaurants; as if it wasn't something Christians do naturally. Now, why is that? I think the answer lies in how we do modern theology: we focus so much on the grammar that we have forgotten to read the message.
One thing we decided when we started the Christian Culinary Academy (CCA) was to focus on character building instead of theology building. Instead of talking about systems and dispensations, we decided to talk about what God wants us to be. It is of course important to know how to read the Bible, but if all we ever do is talk about Greek syntax, we could read Plato, or Homer, and be just as well off. Words mean something and they are meant to do something. Either they change us, or we change them.
Kindness (chrestos in Greek) is one of the characteristics of love (1 Corinthians 13:4). If love is greater than faith - and it is (1 Corinthians 13:13) - kindness must be more enduring than faith. One day we will no longer need faith as we will see God face-to-face, but kindness will still remain, for love never ends. There will never be a day when we no longer need to be kind. Kindness is something that will always remain with us, which leads us to this question: why do we think kindness is something we can ignore while we still walk by faith?
Some people think kindness is saying what everyone wants to hear, but that is as far from the truth as can be. It isn't kind to pretend. Kindness requires honesty, and honesty requires authenticity. There is no need to go around insulting people, and not every truth has to be said out loud, but neither do we need to become phony in order to be kind.
Kindness has to do with being useful to others, to act benevolently, to furnish what is needed.
But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful (Luke 6:35-36, NIV).
Kindness is something every Christian should excel at, and if it seems difficult, practice makes perfect. The day Bible schools no longer need to ask their students to be kind when they go to to the local coffee shops is the day when we can once again focus on Greek syntax (sentences) instead of vocabulary (words). Let's make it happen.