Where Does Kindness Start?

Sometimes a caricature of the Old Testament is drawn, in which people paint a picture of God (or God’s people) only being interested in judgment and punishment.

Yesterday I wrote about kindness being a hallmark of the very first New Testament church in Jerusalem.

So today, it really stood out for me that David, the “man after God’s own heart,” also is portrayed as having a strong predisposition toward acts of kindness.

First of all, he wants to take care of Saul’s descendants. A son of Jonathan named Mephibosheth is identified and David takes him into the palace and cares for him.

“David asked, ‘Is there anyone still left of the house of Saul to whom I can show kindness for Jonathan’s sake?'” (2 Samuel 9:1, NIV).

Then a little later, David seeks another opportunity to show kindness when one of his allies dies, and he wants to show kindness to his son, the new king. This story does not end well, and shows that kindness is not always rewarded with kindness in return. I’ll let that hang right there. Read 2 Samuel 10 and you’ll see what I mean.

“David thought, ‘I will show kindness to Hanun son of Nahash, just as his father showed kindness to me.’ So David sent a delegation to express his sympathy to Hanun concerning his father” (2 Samuel 10:2, NIV).

Sandwiched between these two stories is this statement, which shows David’s true motivation for kindness. He wanted to show others the kindness that had first been shown to him by God!

“The king asked, ‘Is there no one still alive from the house of Saul to whom I can show God’s kindness?'” (2 Samuel 9:3, NIV).

So, if you study these three passages carefully, you’ll see that kindness can start with another person first being kind to you. But the true place kindness starts is with God. His kindness is the best, most powerful kindness, because it encompasses the gift of his Son, Jesus Christ.

And Jesus is the greatest kindness that any of us will ever experience!

Our Bible reading for June 6, 2015 is 2 Samuel 9:1 – 10:19, Acts 3:1-26 and Psalm 70:1-5.

Lord, thank you for your kindness, displayed in the gift of your Son, Jesus. But your kindnesses are truly many! I experience them every day. I am so grateful. In gratitude, help me not just receive your kindnesses, but also, as David did, look for others to whom I can show your kindness.

Header image based on "Mark Twain Kindness is a language..." by BK, CC By-SA 2.0

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I'm married to my beautiful wife Julie and have five kids whose names all begin with the letter A. I'm a pastor at CrossWalk Church in Phoenix, AZ. I love Jesus, my wife, my kids, and my grandkids. Huge Arizona Cardinals fan! Reading, hiking, camping, travel, and fishing are my top 5 downtime pleasures.

One thought on “Where Does Kindness Start?”

  1. Our Bible reading for June 6, 2015 is 2 Samuel 9:1 – 10:19, Acts 3:1-26 and Psalm 70:1

    By faith in the name of Jesus, this man whom you see and know was made strong. It is Jesus’ name and the faith that comes through him that has completely healed him, as you can all see. (‭Acts‬ ‭3‬:‭16‬ NIV)

    “Indeed, beginning with Samuel, all the prophets who have spoken have foretold these days. And you are heirs of the prophets and of the covenant God made with your fathers. He said to Abraham, ‘Through your offspring all peoples on earth will be blessed.’ When God raised up his servant, he sent him first to you to bless you by turning each of you from your wicked ways.” (‭Acts‬ ‭3‬:‭24-26‬ NIV)

    Heavenly Father you have worked so many miracles I could not begin to imagine. You created the universe, you created the sand that covers the beaches. You created me and those I love, for that I thank and praise you Lord. Father I seek you daily in your word. You know me, you know my soul. I need you Father, be with me always. Please be with this I love and need you as well.

    But may all who seek you rejoice and be glad in you; may those who long for your saving help always say, “The Lord is great!” But as for me, I am poor and needy; come quickly to me, O God. You are my help and my deliverer; Lord, do not delay. (‭Psalm‬ ‭70‬:‭4-5‬ NIV)

    ~Paul Montenieri


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